Now docked to the International Space Station, Endeavour and its seven-member crew are preparing for the first of two planned spacewalks set to begin about 6:20 this morning to install the orbiting outpost’s Canadian built robotic arm. Called Canadarm2, the high-tech robotic arm is the most versatile ever flown in space.
Shortly after crew wakeup, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield and Scott Parazynski began suiting up for the six and a half hour spacewalk that marks the 19th devoted to the assembly of the ISS and the 63rd in the history of the shuttle program. Hadfield will be wearing a spacesuit with red stripes around the legs, while Parazynski’s suit will have no markings. John Phillips will serve as the in-cabin quarterback for the spacewalk as Pilot Jeff Ashby and European Space Agency astronaut Umberto Guidoni operate the shuttle’s robotic arm to install the new arm on the outside of the Destiny laboratory.
Hadfield and Parazynski will connect cables to give the arm power and allow it to accept computer commands from the lab. They will unbolt the arm from the pallet, then unfold its two booms and tighten bolts to make them rigid. The spacewalkers also will install a UHF antenna on Destiny.
The Space station’s Expedition Two crewmembers Jim Voss and Susan Helms will power up the arm from the Robotic Work Station inside Destiny, checking connections made by the spacewalkers.
A second spacewalk is scheduled for Tuesday, and will focus on establishing permanent power connections between the 57.7 foot-long arm and station and running it through a thorough checkout.
The shuttle crew was awakened earlier this morning by Canadian Stan Roger’s “Take It From Day to Day” played for Hadfield in honor of the spacewalk – the first ever by a Canadian. The Expedition Two crew was awakened shortly after the shuttle crew.
Endeavour’s cabin pressure will be increased to match that of the station during the spacewalk leading toward opening of the hatches between the shuttle and station Monday morning. Endeavour docked with the station at 8:59 a.m. Saturday followed soon after by entrance into the docking port on the station to retrieve some tools for use during today’s spacewalk. The shuttle crew left behind four water containers, fresh food, computer equipment and IMAX camera film for the station crew.
The next status report will be issued Sunday afternoon, or as events warrant.
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