Saturday, November 21, 2009

Atlantis spacewalkers "kicking butt," working fast

Two Atlantis spacewalkers are moving on to their final scheduled task after successfully unfolding a cargo attachment system from the International Space Station's football field-length backbone.

More than three hours into the mission's second of three spacewalks, Mike Foreman and Randy Bresnik released a mechanism on the right side of the station that is slated to hold a magnetic spectrometer set for delivery by the second-to-last shuttle mission, targeted for launch next July.

The spacewalkers have moved on to the installation of an antenna that transits video from spacewalkers' helmet cameras.

The pair are "kicking butt on the timeline," as Atlantis commander Charlie Hobaugh said, so they'll have time to complete extra work.

That could include deployment of another cargo attachment system opposite the one just released on the station's central truss, loosening an Ammonia Tank Assembly bolt or reconnecting a recently installed space-to ground antenna power cable that is showing lower-than-expected levels.

So far, Foreman and Bresnik have installed a pair of antennas, relocated a device measuring electric charge build-up and deployed the Payload Attach System, or PAS.

Their spacewalk began at 9:31 a.m. EST, more than an hour late, and was not expected to allow time for "get-ahead" tasks.

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