Astronauts Jim Voss and Jeff Williams spent over six hours outside the Space Shuttle Atlantis this morning, completing a variety of planned assembly and maintenance tasks on the International Space Station with ease.
Voss and Williams started the spacewalk early and remained ahead of schedule throughout. The astronauts secured a United States-built crane that was installed on the station last year; installed the final parts of a Russian-built crane on the station; replaced a faulty antenna for one of the station's communications systems; and installed several handrails and a camera cable on the station's exterior. The six-hour, 44-minute spacewalk began at 8:48 p.m. CDT Sunday and was completed at 3:32 a.m. CDT today. Assisting with the activities from inside Atlantis' cabin was Pilot Scott Horowitz while Mission Specialist Mary Ellen Weber operated the Shuttle's robotic arm, which she used to maneuver Voss during much of the spacewalk.
The extravehicular activity conducted by Voss and Williams marks the fifth spacewalk conducted for construction of the International Space Station; the 49th spacewalk based out of the Space Shuttle; and the 85th spacewalk in history conducted by U.S. astronauts.
The crew's attention now turns to entering the station, a process planned to begin at 7:11 p.m. today. The astronauts will open a total of six hatches as they move through the station's compartments. The first hatch into the station's Unity connecting module will be opened about 7:56 p.m. and the first hatch into the Zarya module will be opened about 9:11 p.m. Once inside the station, the crew will begin transferring equipment and performing maintenance work immediately. Replacement of four batteries in the Zarya will begin about 11:31 p.m., with astronaut Susan Helms and cosmonaut Yury Usachev scheduled to install two new batteries and their associated electronics. Helms and Usachev will install the remaining two replacement batteries later during the docked phase of the flight.
The crew plans to go to sleep at about 8 this morning and will be awakened by Mission Control at 3:56 p.m., with the focus of work this evening being the first entry into the station. Atlantis and the International Space Station remain in good condition orbiting Earth each 91 minutes with a high point of 209 statute miles and a low point of 203 statute miles.
The next mission status report will be issued at 7 p.m.
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