Endeavour’s astronauts extended the reach of the International Space Station today, successfully installing a 57.7 foot long Canadian-built robotic arm.
Mission Control Houston recognized the importance of today’s activities sending up a congratulatory message from Canadian Astronaut Steve MacLean and playing the Canadian anthem, “Oh Canada” before the two space walkers – Scott Parazynski and Chris Hadfield – floated back into Endeavour. Hadfield became the first Canadian to conduct a spacewalk today as he worked to install the Canadian built and provided Canadarm2 robotic arm.
“It really just opens the door to what all of us can be doing here internationally, beginning to explore space as a planet,” said Hadfield.
Parazynski and Hadfield spent 7 hours and 10 minutes working outside the station, installing first an Ultrahigh Frequency (UHF) antenna before turning their attention to the station’s new robotic arm. They floated out of Endeavour’s airlock at 6:45 a.m. central time and about two hours later had installed and deployed the UHF antenna on the Destiny module of the station.
With that complete, the two astronauts turned their attention to installing the new station robotic arm. The main boom was deployed at 10 a.m. central, and a few minutes later, at 10:10 a.m. Hadfield and Parazynski began unfolding the arm as Endeavour and the station flew 238 miles over the Atlantic Ocean.
With the new arm secured in its pallet attached to the exterior of the Destiny laboratory, Hadfield and Parazynski connected cables to give the arm power and allow it to accept computer commands from inside the lab. After unfolding the arm, they used a pistol grip tool to properly secure a series of expandable fasteners that keep the booms rigidized in position. The two space walkers experienced some difficulty ensuring an appropriate torque level had been placed on the fasteners. By taking the pistol grip tool from automatic to manual mode, Hadfield and Parazynski securely tightened the bolts in place, completing their activities for the day and beginning to clean up the payload bay before returning to Endeavour.
Today’s spacewalk, which concluded at 1:55 p.m., was the 19th conducted to assemble the International Space Station. A second spacewalk scheduled for Tuesday will focus on establishing permanent power connections between the arm and station and performing a thorough checkout.
At 1:53 p.m., Flight Engineers Susan Helms and Jim Voss, on board the station, commanded the first motion of the new station robotic arm as they flew 242 miles over the Indian Ocean crossing the eastern coast of Africa. All indications are that the arm operated perfectly in this initial commanding.
Tomorrow, just before 5:30 a.m., Helms and Voss will “walk” the arm off the pallet and attach it to a grapple fixture on the Destiny module. On Wednesday morning, they will use the station arm to hand the pallet to the shuttle arm. In a procedure that will take about 3 ½ hours from start-to-finish, the pallet will be transferred from one arm to the other and berthed back in Endeavour’s payload bay for return to Earth
Endeavour’s 50 foot-long robotic arm will be pressed into service once again Monday morning as Pilot Jeff Ashby grapples the Italian Space Agency-provided “Raffaello” logistics module and docks it to the Unity module. Early Tuesday morning, the Expedition Two crew – Voss, Helms and Commander Yury Usachev – will enter Raffaello and begin transferring the supplies, equipment and experiment racks loaded inside.
After a busy day on orbit for both crews, the station crew will go to sleep at 5:31 p.m., followed 10 minutes later by Endeavour’s crew. Mission Control will wake up Commander Kent Rominger, Ashby, Mission Specialists John Phillips, Yuri Lonchakov, Umberto Guidoni, Hadfield and Parazynski at 1:41 a.m. Monday. The station crew is scheduled to wake up at 2:01 a.m.
The next status report will be issued Monday morning, or as events warrant.
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