Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spacewalkers install antenna; lube work next

Ahead of schedule, Atlantis spacewalkers Mike Foreman and Dr. Bobby Satcher have finished installing a spare communications antenna outside the International Space Station.

The two spacewalkers began their excursion today at 9:24 a.m.

Riding on the end of the station's 58-foot robotic arm, Satcher carried the antenna from Atlantis' payload bay to the Z1 segment in the middle of the station's backbone-like, football field-length central truss. Satcher and Foreman bolted the antenna assembly into place.

Up next: Foreman will continue working in the same area to route some cables that will be needed for a future space-to-ground antenna, while Satcher will begin greasing wire snares on two grappling fixtures.

One of the fixtures (left) works on the base of a platform that runs along the station's truss, the other is at the end of the robotic arm on Japan's Kibo science lab. The lube jobs were scheduled to take a little over an hour.

The first of three spacewalks planned during Atlantis' 11-day mission is expected to last about six hours and 30 minutes.

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