Endeavour astronauts Linda Godwin and Dan Tani completed a four-hour, 12-minute space walk today to install insulation on mechanisms that rotate the International Space Station's main solar arrays.
The space walk went smoothly as Godwin and Tani installed insulation around the two barrel-shaped devices atop the station's five-story tall truss structure. The space walkers also attempted to secure one of four legs that brace the starboard station array, but they were unable to close the latch, which has been open since the array was installed a year ago. The other legs have always been latched securely and are sufficient.
On their way down from the top of the station, the two space walkers stopped at a stowage bin to retrieve a cover which had been removed from a station antenna during an earlier flight. The cover will be brought back to Earth and may be reused. Godwin and Tani also performed a "get-ahead" task, positioning two switches on the station's exterior to be installed on an upcoming shuttle mission, STS-110, that will deliver a central, 40-foot long truss section this spring. Godwin and Tani left Endeavour's airlock at 11:52 a.m. CST as the shuttle and station flew above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America. They ended the space walk at 4:04 p.m. CST.
Meanwhile, aboard the station, the Expedition Four crew -- Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Dan Bursch and Carl Walz -- continued moving supplies to and from the Raffaello logistics module, now more than 70 percent unloaded. So far, at least 3,500 pounds of food and supplies have been moved from Raffaello to the station and another 1,000 pounds of gear and experiments have been moved to the station from Endeavour's cabin. The hatches between Endeavour and the station, closed late yesterday to prepare for today's space walk, were reopened just before 6 p.m. CST.
Today's space walk completes a record year with 18 space walks conducted: 12 originating from the shuttle and six from the station. That number eclipses the previous records for most space walks performed in a single year, a tie between the years 1973, when nine space walks were conducted from the Skylab space station, and 1997, when nine space walks were conducted from the shuttle and from the Russian Mir space station combined. The space walking record set this year is expected to be broken again next year -- in 2002, 22 space walks are planned from the shuttle and station.
The crews will begin a sleep period at 10:19 p.m. CST and Endeavour's crew will awaken at 6:19 a.m. CST Tuesday with the station crew awakening a half-hour later. The next STS-108 mission status report will be issued about 7 a.m. Tuesday today or as events warrant.
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