Monday, May 17, 2010

Atlantis Astronauts Begin Station Spacewalk

Two of shuttle Atlantis' astronauts began an orbital walk in space this morning to install a new high gain antenna and perform several chores in support of the International Space Station.

Spacewalkers Garrett Reisman and Steven Bowen began the first of three planned 'walks at 7:54 am EDT today, as they switched their suits to internal power while in the Quest airlock of the station.

Running under the call sign nicknames of Big-G for Reisman and Steve-O for Bowen, the pair spent a few minutes getting accustomed prior to their planned six and one-half hour extra vehicular activity.

Today's spacewalk is the 144th devoted to space station construction and maintenance. At the start of today's spacewalk, astronauts and cosmonauts have logged a total time of 893 hours and 93 minutes outside the orbital complex.

First up saw Reisman began to transition over to the station's port 1 truss to the Ceta cart to pick up a portable foot restraint in which he will stand upon as he rides the station's robotic arm this morning. He completed installation of the PFR at 8:39 am.

Meanwhile, Bowen began removing several bolts at 8:36 am, removing the Ku-Band antenna dish which was mounted to the
intergrated cargo carrier -- an eight foot long cargo support structure which Atlantis delivered to station on Sunday.

Operating the space station's fifty-foot robotic arm is Atlantis' Piers Sellers.

"There's a spectacular light show underneath us", Big-Garrett stated as he viewed lightning storms over Taiwan during the nighttime pass at 8:45 am.

At the helm of Atlantis is commander Ken Ham and pilot Tony Antonelli. Mission specialists Reisman, Michael Good, Bowen and Sellers round out the crew of NASA's 132nd space shuttle mission.

Orbiting high above earth in an orbit of 220 x 212 statue miles, the largest complex ever to fly in space with Atlantis docked now weighs in at 1.06 million pounds.

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