Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Astronauts Breezing Through Station Spacewalk

Endeavour mission specialists Drew Feustel and Mike Fincke are breezing through the initial stages of a spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

Now 90 minutes into the excursion, the astronauts already have mounted a fixture outside the Zarya spacecraft that will enable the station's Canadian-built robot arm to operate on the Russian side of the outpost.

"You guys are doing great. You're a half-hour ahead of schedule," said Endeavour mission specialist Greg Chamitoff, who is directing the spacewalk from inside the joined shuttle-station complex.

"Knock on wood, and don't say it again," Feustel joked.

Feustel and Fincke struggled a bit in a spacewalk Sunday. The eight-hour, seven-minute outing was the sixth longest spacewalk in history.

The longest spacewalk ever: 8 hours and 56 minutes. Set on the STS-102 mission in March 2001, that world record is held by former NASA astronauts Susan Helms and James Voss.

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