In a 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk today, Endeavour astronauts Franklin Chang-Díaz and Philippe Perrin successfully replaced a wrist roll joint on the International Space Station’s robotic arm, restoring the arm to full functionality.
With Endeavour Pilot Paul Lockhart choreographing the spacewalk from inside Endeavour, Chang-Díaz and Perrin stepped outside the station’s Quest airlock at 10:16 a.m. Central time. Commander Ken Cockrell used the shuttle’s robotic arm to provide television views of the spacewalk activity.
Chang-Díaz and Perrin first removed the arm’s latching end effector, essentially the hand of Canadarm2, and attached it to a handrail on the station’s Destiny Laboratory. Next they released six bolts connecting the wrist roll joint to the adjoining yaw joint and an additional bolt connecting power, data and video umbilicals. Perrin carried the failed unit to Endeavour’s payload bay where it was temporarily stored near the new joint.
Perrin released six fasteners to remove the new joint from its launch carrier in the shuttle cargo bay and brought it up to Canadarm2 where Chang-Díaz was positioned. After aligning the new component with the wrist yaw joint at the end of the arm, the duo tightened the six bolts to secure the new joint to the arm and turned the final bolt to connect the power, data and video lines. After they reinstalled the latching end effector, power was turned back on to Canadarm2. The failed joint was then placed in a flight support structure in the cargo bay for return to Earth.
Working at the robotics workstation inside the Destiny Laboratory, Endeavour Astronaut Dan Bursch and Expedition Five Commander Valery Korzun conducted a checkout of the health of the arm once the new joint was installed. At 3:43 p.m. Central time, the arm returned to full operational status.
Following an inventory of the tools they used during the spacewalk, Perrin and Chang-Díaz re-entered Quest. Airlock repressurization began at 5:33 p.m. Central time, signaling the end of the spacewalk. It was the 41st spacewalk in support of ISS assembly and maintenance and the third of the mission, bringing the total spacewalking time for STS-111 to 19 hours and 31 minutes.
The next STS-111 status report will be issued Friday morning, or earlier, if events warrant.
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