Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Final Discovery Spacewalk In The Books

Discovery's astronauts are back inside the International Space Station today after a highly successful spacewalk that was cut short by trouble with spacesuit helmet lights.

Shuttle mission specialists Stephen Bowen and Al Drew began re-pressurization the U.S. Quest airlock at 4:56 p.m., marking the end of a 6-hour, 14-minute excursion outside the outpost. The astronauts tackled a myriad of maintenance work and were on to "get-ahead" tasks when the helmet lights on Drew's spacesuit popped off.

The spacewalk was the 155th performed in the assembly and maintenance of the station, the first two building blocks of which were linked in low Earth orbit in late 1998.

Astronauts and cosmonauts now have tallied 973 hours and 53 minutes of spacewalking work at the station -- the equivalent of 40 full days.

The spacewalk was the 244th for American astronauts and the 127th staged out of station airlocks. Some 28 station assembly spacewalks were based out of shuttle airlocks.

The excursion was the second and final one planned for Discovery's 39th and final flight. Bowen now has completed seven career spacewalks totaling 47 hours and 18 minutes. He is now sixth on the all-time list for most experienced spacewalkers.

Drew completed his second spacewalk. He now has tallied 12 hours and 48 minutes working outside the station.

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