Saturday, November 21, 2009

Second Atlantis Spacewalk Complete

Atlantis spacewalkers Mike Foreman and Randy Bresnik have completed a "kick butt" spacewalk that accomplished several bonus tasks, including deploying a final connection point for cargo outside the International Space Station.

The spacewalk, which began late because of false alarms on the station overnight, ended at 3:39 p.m. EST, lasting six hours and eight minutes.

NASA still has not released any public word on whether Bresnik's wife, Rebecca, may have given birth to a baby girl during the spacewalk.

The spacewalk's planned work included installing a set of antennas on the Columbus lab that will track ships at sea, relocating a device measuring electric charge build-up outside the station, and deploying a platform that will hold cargo outside the station.

Running an hour ahead of schedule, Foreman and Bresnik went on to deploy a second and final cargo attachment platform -- the third during the mission's two spacewalks.

Atlantis mission specialist Bobby Satcher, helping the spacewalkers from inside, jokingly asked mission controllers in Houston if there were any more.

"Not on this station, but if you want we can make another one," replied astronaut Steve Swanson, talking to the crew from Houston.

Foreman and Bresnik also installed a wireless video system for spacewalkers' helmet cameras and completed a few final odd jobs, including reconnecting a power cable for a space-to-ground antenna installed on the previous spacewalk.

"Way to kick butt," said Atlantis commander Charlie Hobaugh.

The spacewalk was the 229th conducted by U.S. astronauts and 135th supporting space station maintenance and assembly, which began in 1998. The latter now total more than 843 hours.

It was the fifth spacewalk for Foreman, whose career total now ranks him 28th all-time at 32 hours, 19 minutes.

It was Bresnik's first spacewalk.

The Atlantis mission total so far is 12 hours, 45 minutes. Bresnik and Satcher are scheduled to team up Monday for a third and final spacewalk.

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