Friday, May 27, 2011

Last Spacewalk By Shuttle Astronauts Now History

Two Americans are back inside the International Space Station today after finishing the last spacewalk to be performed by space shuttle astronauts, an excursion that capped n 11.5-year effort to assemble the $100 billion orbiting outpost.

Mission specialists Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff started re-pressurizing the U.S. Quest airlock at 7:39 a.m., marking the end of the fourth and final spacewalk planned during Endeavour's stay at the station. Their outing lasted seven hours and 24 minutes.

A single spacewalk is planned for NASA's last shuttle mission in July, but it will be carried out by station crew members.

Donald Peterson and Story Musgrave performed the first shuttle-era spacewalk on the sixth shuttle mission in April 1983. The excursion lasted three hours and 54 minutes.

Added up, shuttle astronauts have performed 164 spacewalks over the past three decades, 110 of which were carried out during 36 shuttle missions to the International Space Station. Twenty-three were done during Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions. Thirty-one took place on other shuttle missions.

The spacewalk was the 248th performed by U.S. astronauts and the 159th carried out in the assembly and maintenance of the International Space Station. Astronauts and cosmonauts now have tallied 1002 hours and 37 minutes of spacewalking work at the outpost.

The excursion was the second for Chamitoff. He now has 13 hours and 43 minutes of spacewalking experience.

The spacewalk was the ninth for Fincke. His 48 hours and 37 minutes of spacewalking experience places him sixth on the list of people who have spent the most time in extravehicular activity.

1 comment:

Marty Perlman said...

There's one more addition coming to the space station!

Astronauts have appealed to NASA for one more shuttle flight to bring up a last-minute (and trendy) addition -- a pre-fabricated food truck (in NASA lingo, a calorie-enhancer module).

"Basically, the food truck, Heavenly Treats, will attach to the existing station's Permanent Multipurpose Module," said NASA spokesperson and former high altitude drag racing champion Nick Armane. "It's right next to our Decompression/Just Relax Chamber."

More details are at the whimsical Thinking Out Loud,