Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Spacewalkers Amble Through Excursion

Spacewalking astronauts are ploughing through a motley assortment of maintenance work at the International Space Station today as docked shuttle Discovery and the outpost zoom around the world at five miles every second.

With the station-shuttle complex lapping the planet once every 90 minutes, two Discovery mission specialists are steadily emptying a job jar filled with a mix of work that from the removal of thermal insulation from stowage platforms to equipping a two-armed Canadian robot with a pan-and-tilt camera assembly.

The spacewalk is the seventh career excursion for Stephen Bowen, the second for Alvin Drew and the 155th performed in the assembly and maintenance of the one-million-pound station, the foundation of which was laid in low Earth orbit in late 1998.

Drew installed a light on a rail cart that hauls equipment along the station's 335-foot-long central truss. He outfitted the valve module on a radiator fluid line with thermal insulation.

Bowen installed a lens cover on a camera located on the elbow of the stations 57.5-foot robot arm.

The astronauts are about 4.5 hours into a planned 6.5-hour spacewalk. The excursion is the second and final spacewalk planned for Discovery's eight-day stay at the station.

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