Friday, November 20, 2009

Atlantis crew awaits spacewalk, baby news

As the Atlantis crew headed to sleep Friday, mission specialist Randy Bresnik was still awaiting news about his wife Rebecca's expected delivery of a baby girl in Houston.

"No word yet," lead station flight director Brian Smith said during a press briefing around 5:30 p.m., joking that he wished he could add the arrival time to his flight plan. "We'll accommodate whatever Rebecca and her new baby want to do."

Bresnik and six crewmates were scheduled to go to bed around 7:30 p.m. EST and wake up at 3:28 a.m. EST Saturday.

In preparation for the shuttle mission's second of three spacewalks, Bresnik and Mike Foreman slept in the International Space Station's Quest airlock at a reduced air pressure.

The standard pre-spacewalk "campout" procedure helps spacewalkers avoid decompression sickness.

The spacewalk will be Bresnik's first, Foreman's fifth.

It is scheduled to begin at 8:18 a.m. and last more than six hours, focusing on the deployment of another cargo attachment system and the installation of several antennas outside the station.

At the same time, crewmates will also manipulate a pair of robotic arms to install a second platform of large spare parts on the station's truss, a key goal of the 11-day shuttle flight.

Here's a look at the Flight Day Six timeline (all times Eastern):

3:28 a.m. Atlantis and International Space Station crews awake.
4:58 a.m. Preparations begin for second of third spacewalk.
6:13 a.m. Shuttle robotic arm removes spare parts carrier from payload bay.
7:08 a.m. Shuttle arm hands carrier to space station arm.
8:18 a.m. Mike Foreman and Randy Bresnik begin spacewalk No. 2.
8:48 a.m. Install two antennas on Columbus lab.
9:08 a.m. Spare parts carrier installed on station truss, or backbone.
9:53 a.m. Move station arm base.
10:03 a.m. Relocate device measuring electric charge build-up outside the station from the Starboard 1 to Port 1 truss segment.
11:33 a.m. Deploy cargo attachment system on Starboard 3 truss segment.
1:03 p.m. Install wireless video system on Starboard 3 truss segment.
2:48 p.m. Spacewalk No. 2 ends.
6:28 p.m. Station crew sleeps.
6:58 p.m. Atlantis crew sleeps.

Click here to open a NASA TV video player and watch the spacewalk and other action live.

IMAGE: Above, astronaut Randy Bresnik, STS-129 mission specialist, reads a procedure checklist on the aft flight deck of Space Shuttle Atlantis during flight day three activities. Credit: NASA. Below, views of Earth and the International Space Station from the station and shuttle Atlantis.

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