Monday, November 23, 2009

Start of last Atlantis spacewalk running late

A problem with Atlantis mission specialist Bobby Satcher's spacesuit has delayed the start mission's third and final spacewalk about an hour.

It's now expected to start at 8:18 a.m. EST.

A valve that came off a "drink bag" worn inside the spacesuit has been reattached. It took time to determine if that seal would hold or if a new bag was required.

The mission's first two spacewalks, last Thursday and Saturday, were so successful accomplishing extra tasks that this one nearly amounts to mop-up duty.

The major jobs are moving a high-pressure gas tank -- known as a "dog house" for its shape -- from a newly installed spare parts platform to its perch on the Quest airlock, and setting up some trays of experiments.

Other odd jobs include removing some debris shields, loosening a bolt on an Ammonia Tank Assembly, installing some fluid jumper cables and removing a foot restraint.

It's all scheduled to last more than six hours.

The spacewalk will be the second of the mission and in the careers of Bresnik and Satcher.

Meanwhile, congratulations continue to pour in for Bresnik on the birth of his daughter late Saturday back in Houston.

"Houston MCC welcomes Baby Abigail Bresnick,our newest addition to our NASA family," reads the cover page to a set of instructions e-mailed to the crew by Mission Control. "Mother and child are doing fine. Father is running circles around the earth in excitement (every 90 min)."

"Congratulations to again-new-father Randy," reads another section. "Your crew-choice downlink was a big hit on the news channels, and we're still enjoying the pink cigars."

Bresnik had indicated after announcing Abigail's birth early Sunday that he had a gift for flight teams.

NASA posted a picture of the other 11 Atlantis and space station crew members presenting Bresnik with a gift that appears to be a pink onesie with an STS-129 mission patch on it.

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