Friday, June 05, 2009
Astronaut Michael Barratt received the ride of a lifetime as he was extened away from the international space station nearly fifty feet during a space walk this morning.
Assisted by his station commander Gennady Padalka, Barratt stated, "This station is so beautiful", as he began riding the white boom at 7:52 am EDT, as the station orbited 220 miles over western Europe. At 8:15 am, Barratt was reeled back in while they passed over north of India.
The pair are now just over four hours into their 5 1/2-hour spacewalk. It is Barratt's first excursion outside, and Padalka's seventh orbital walk in space.
While Padalka and Barratt roam the station, the Expedion 20 crew's four other members are in various sections of the space station. Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata is in Zvezda and near the Soyuz TMA-14 craft as he supports the spacewalk from inside.
Today's spacewalk is in support of preparing the Russian Zvezda module for the November 12th arrival of a new Russian docking port, the Mini-Research Module-2 or MRM-2. Launch will take place on Nov. 10 aboard a Soyuz rocket, the MRM-2 will serve as an additional Russian docking port.