Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Second Spacewalk of Atlantis' Mission Underway

Atlantis astronauts today are performing the second of three planned spacewalks outside Earth's orbital outpost to install fresh batteries and repair a snagged cable on a sensor boom.

Mission specialists Steven Bowen and Michael Good switched their spacesuits to internal power officially beginning today's planned six and one-half hour spacewalk at 6:38 am EDT.

The first task the orbital duo began was to free a snagged cable at the camera on the orbital boom sensor.

"The cable was inhibiting a camera from maneuvering correctly. Bowen adjusted the cable and used a plastic tie to hold it in position," Mission control near Houston stated today.

This job only lasted only fifteen minutes, but when they finished it was fifty-one minutes into the spacewalk.

The second task the astronauts went to work on outside the space station is the replacement of at least three of six batteries at the Port 6 truss solar array.

The astronauts will replace each 375 pound battery at the array's integrated electrical assembly by releasing two hold down bolts. Once the battery is free, the two astronauts will hand-off the battery back and forth as they transition down the truss segment to store the battery.

The first new battery, battery A, will then be removed from the Intergrated cargo carrier which Atlantis brought up to orbit and houses all six fresh batteries.

In support of the spacewalk, Atlantis astronauts Garrett Reisman and Piers Sellers operated the station's fifty-foot robotic arm with the portable foot restraint attached.

A Friday spacewalk will install the final three batteries in the same region of the station.

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