Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cargo holder deployed, spacewalk wrapping up

Two Atlantis spacewalkers are nearing the end of a successful spacewalk that saw them get extra work done because of their fast pace.

Mike Foreman and Bobby Satcher are returning to the International Space Station's Quest airlock after deploying a mechanism for attaching cargo outside the station, on the Starboard 3 segment of its football field-length truss.

That task had been planned for the mission's second of three spacewalks.

The duo ran into some initial trubble with Payload Attach Mechanism, or PAS.

A bolt holding a brace in place remained stuck, but eventually loosened after Foreman pounded it with the plastic end of a hammer and Satcher wiggled the brace.

Earlier, the pair installed a spare communications antenna, lubed two mechanical hands that grapple payloads and set up some cables and a bracket to prepare for future installations.

The spacewalk began at 9:24 a.m. and was scheduled to last six hours and 30 minutes.

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