Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev and astronaut Jim Voss performed their first spacewalk on the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, completing all of their scheduled tasks smoothly and ahead of schedule.
Usachev and Voss entered the small, spherical transfer compartment at the forward end of the Zvezda Service Module to begin the first spacewalk at the ISS without the presence of a shuttle. They removed a hatch at the bottom (Earth-facing part) of the compartment to open it to the vacuum of space and officially begin the spacewalk at 9:21 a.m.
After lashing the hatch cover to the top of the compartment, they replaced it with a docking cone assembly that had been temporarily stowed on a transfer compartment wall. Using a rotating handle, they secured it firmly with the twelve roller-like hatches around its perimeter at 9:40 a.m., marking the official end of the spacewalk. With help from fellow crewmember Susan Helms, who stayed in the Zarya module and helped coordinate the spacewalk, the activity went very quickly. The 19-minute spacewalk had been expected to take 30 to 40 minutes. The docking cone was installed to prepare for the arrival of the Russian docking compartment, scheduled for later this year.
Meanwhile, managers have postponed the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-104 mission to no earlier than July 7. Atlantis will take the Joint Airlock to the ISS. The ISSís new Canadarm2 will be used to install the airlock, and engineers are continuing to troubleshoot an intermittent problem in the armís secondary power and control string. They also continue to try to evaluate why brakes in the armís wrist joint came on without being commanded during an earlier test run.
The STS-105 flight of Discovery, taking the Expedition Three crew to the ISS and returning the Expedition Two crew to Earth, will be launched no earlier than Aug. 5.
The next ISS status report will be issued on Wednesday, June 13, or as events warrant.
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