Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shuttle Crew's 3rd Spacewalk On Tap At ISS

Endeavour's astronauts will gear up tonight for a spacewalk aimed partly at stringing power cables between the U.S. and Russian sides of the International Space Station.

Shuttle mission specialists Drew Feustel and Mike Fincke also plan to set up a special fixture that would enable the station's Canadian-built robot arm to operate outside Russian modules.

Spacewalk preparations will get under way in earnest around 11:30 p.m. tonight as Feustel and Fincke use a new method to rid their bodies of nitrogen gas, which can cause astronauts to experience the type of decompression sickness encountered by SCUBA divers. The new protocol employs light exercise along with breathing pure oxygen prior to entering a vacuum environment in a low-pressure spacesuit.

Feustel and Fincke are scheduled to depart the station's U.S. Quest airlock at 1:46 a.m. Wednesday. The planned 6.5-hour excursion is expected to wrap up at 8:16 a.m.

You can watch live coverage of the spacewalk live here in The Flame Trench. Click the NASA TV box on the right to launch our NASA TV viewer and 24-7 coverage of NASA's next-to-last shuttle mission.

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