Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spacewalk #2 Ahead of Schedule

Lead spacewalker Piper works at robotic arm today

SLN: Up to the Minute, I'm Charles Atkeison. Endeavour astronauts Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Shane Kimbrough are nearly one hour ahead of the timeline today as they perform the second spacewalk of the mission.

Today's 6 1/2-hour spacewalk began early at 12:57 pm ET from the Quest airlock of the international space station.

First, the duo moved two equipment carts along a 300-foot rail system known as the Crew and Equipment and Translation Aid or CETA. The CETA carts needed to be moved so that a major set of solar arrays can be installed during a shuttle flight this February. They actually made great time and stayed ahead of the timeline.

Kimbrough moved the carts while riding the station's robot arm. Once moved into their new location 300 feet away along a truss on the main section of the station, Piper secured them down.

Meanwhile inside the space station, mission specialist Don Pettit and Expedition 18 Flight Engineer Sandra Magnus are operating the station's arm.

By 2:10 pm, Kimbrough began operations to grease the grappling end-effector of the station's Canadian buillt robotic arm.

Next up, Piper is continuing SARJ or solar array rotary joint bearing cleaning and regreasing, which began during Tuesday's first spacewalk.

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