Shuttle Crew Completes First STS-130 Spacewalk
Astronauts installed a 2,600-cubic-foot addition to the International Space Station early Friday, combining the talents of robotic arm operators and spacewalkers to connect the Italian-built Tranquility module.
Tranquility was installed at 12:20 a.m. CST Friday over the Indian Ocean west of Singapore. Mission Specialist Kay Hire and Pilot Terry Virts used the station’s Canadarm2 to pull Tranquility out of the space shuttle Endeavour’s payload bay and position it on the port side of the station’s 10-year-old Unity module. Tranquility was locked in place with 16 remotely controlled bolts.
Spacewalkers Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick stepped outside the Quest airlock module at 8:17 p.m. Thursday and immediately began preparing the new module for its trip from the cargo bay to the station. Mission Specialist Steve Robinson helped coordinate the 6-hour, 32-minute spacewalk, which ended at 2:49 a.m. Friday. As Behnken and Patrick waited for the robotic arm operators to carefully maneuver Tranquility into position, they relocated a temporary platform from the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, to the station’s truss structure and installed two handles on the robot.
Once Tranquility was structurally mated to Unity, the spacewalkers connected heater and data cables that will integrate the new module with the rest of the station’s systems. They also pre-positioned insulation blankets and ammonia hoses that will be used to connect Tranquility to the station’s cooling radiators during the mission’s second spacewalk that begins Saturday night. The station’s new room with a view, the cupola, will be moved from Tranquility’s end to its Earth-facing port on Sunday.
As the spacewalk ended, Mission Control reported that all data and heater connections were working well, and that the vestibule separating Tranquility and Unity had passed its initial leak check.
Inside the station, a new Distillation Assembly and Fluids Control Pump Assembly began recycling their first batch of urine after Commander Jeff Williams’ installation of the new parts on Wednesday. Flight controllers are monitoring the operation of the station’s Water Recovery System and preparing to return samples of both urine and drinking water for return to Earth as troubleshooting on the first-of-its-kind system continues. The recycling system will be moved from the Destiny Laboratory to Tranquility once experts are satisfied with its performance.
The astronauts are scheduled to begin their sleep period at 7:14 a.m., and awaken at 3:14 p.m.
Image Caption: Mission Specialist Bob Behnken works outside the International Space Station during the first spacewalk of the STS-130 mission. Image credit: NASA TV
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