Saturday, July 18, 2009

Japanese Exposed Facility Installed on Station

The Exposed Facility is moved for attachment to Kibo.

A huge platform which will host a variety of science experiments exposed to the vacuum of space was successfully installed to the Japanese Kibo module late today, expanding the mass of the international space station.

The Japanese Exposed Facility was officially latched to the end of Kibo, or Hope in Japanese, at 7:29 pm EDT. Several robotic arm hand-offs, beginning with the space shuttle Endeavour's, guided the JEF from the payload by of the orbiter to Kibo during the afternoon.

Meanwhile, two of Endeavour's astronauts ventured outside of the space station to perform the first of five spacewalks to help install the exposed facility and perform a few station house keeping chores.

Astronauts David Wolf and new space station resident Tim Kopra began their spacewalk at 12:19 pm EDT. This was Wolf's fifth walk in space and Kopra's first.

During the 126th spacewalk dedicated to station construction, the pair completed the setup of a cargo carrier on the port 3 truss segment which was delivered earlier this year on STS-119. The carrier is rides on rails along the backbone truss and will store and move equipment from one side to another.

Today's spacewalk concluded at 5:51 pm.

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