Thursday, February 11, 2010

Get Up-Close With Endeavour Spacewalkers

Spacewalking astronauts are working hard outside shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station, prepping the U.S. Tranquility module for delivery to the U.S. side of the orbiting outpost.

Endeavour lead spacewalker Bob Behnken has removed eight protective covers on the docking ring of Tranquility -- the berthing mechanism that will link it to the port side of the U.S. Unity module.

Mission specialist Nicholas Patrick is disconnecting electrical umbilicals that have linked the 15-ton module to shuttle Endeavour's power system to make certain it stayed warm after launch Monday from Kennedy Space Center.

Click the NASA TV box to launch our NASA TV viewer and live coverage of the spacewalk. You'll see frequent views from the astronauts' helmet cameras -- up-close looks at the work at hand.

A small, faint 16 in the bottom right of a view indicates that the live video is coming from Behnken's helmet-cam. A faint No. 18 shows the view is coming from the camera on Patrick's helmet.

Behnken has been moving along so fast that ground controllers have asked him to slow down. Apparently, he is using up a lot of his oxygen supply. Behnken soon will be heading back the U.S. Quest airlock to recharge his oxygen tanks.

Still to come (times are approximate):

++10:49 p.m.: Hire and Virts hoist Tranquility module.

++12:44 a.m. Friday: Hire and Virts install Tranquility on port side of U.S. Unity module.

++1:34 a.m. Friday: Spacewalkers connect power cables between Tranquility and the station.

++3:34 a.m. Friday: Tranquility leak checks.

++3:39 a.m. Friday: Spacewalk No. 1 ends.

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