Friday, May 20, 2011

First Endeavour spacewalk complete

One spacewalk down, three more to go for the shuttle program.

Endeavour astronauts Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff have returned inside the International Space Station's Quest airlock, officially ending their first spacewalk at 9:29 a.m. EDT.

The mission's first of four planned spacewalks lasted six hours and 19 minutes minutes, about 10 minutes less than planned.

Fuestel and Chamitoff accomplished most of their planned tasks without a hitch, including retrieving and deploying materials science experiments, installing a rail cart light and protective cover for a solar array joint, routing coolant loop jumper cables and installing new antennas.

But wiring to finish connecting the antennas on the Destiny lab had to be cut short because of a failed carbon dioxide sensor in Chamitoff's suit, which prompted managers to limit how long he could remain outside.

"You guys did great," radioed Mike Fincke, who assisted the spacewalkers from inside Endeavour, as the spacewalkers returned inside. "We got a lot done."

The spacewalk was the 156th supporting station assembly and maintenance, all of which now total 980 hours and 12 minutes.

Fuestel now has four spacewalks under his belt -- one at the station and three at the Hubble Space Telescope -- for a total of 27 hours and 17 minutes.

The spacewalk was the first for Chamitoff, a veteran of a past long-duration stay on the station.

The Endeavour cew's second of four spacewalks is planned Sunday morning, with Fuestal this time joined by Fincke.

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