Unpacking a space-based moving van and taking a second walk in space is the order of business today for astronauts and cosmonauts orbiting in the International Space Station and aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour.
The Raffaello logistics module, now open for business following yesterday’s berthing to the side of the station’s Unity module, will be unloaded over the course of the next five days and then reloaded with unneeded cargo from the station for return to Earth.
While the Expedition Two crew of Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineers Jim Voss and Susan Helms begin to transfer goods from Raffaello, on the other side of the hatch aboard Endeavour, Scott Parazynski and Chris Hadfield planned to conduct the second Extravehicular Activity beginning about 8 a.m.
The first order of business for the veteran spacewalkers will be to connect power, computer and video cables to the Power and Data Grapple Fixture on the side of the station’s Destiny laboratory. An antenna on Unity will be removed, as it is no longer needed. Cables on the pallet that carried the new robot arm to the station will be disconnected. Once those cables are removed, the Canadian-built Canadarm2 will be receiving power and communicating with the station’s Robotics Work Station inside Destiny.
Near the end of the planned 6-½ hour spacewalk, Helms will command the station’s new robotic arm to pick up the 3,000-pound pallet that delivered it to space. She then will maneuver the pallet through various positions to test the arm with a load. Helms will finish today’s tests by maneuvering the pallet over Endeavour’s payload bay where it will remain parked overnight, still attached to the high-tech robotic arm.
The day began for the astronauts and cosmonauts with the dulcet tones of Louis Armstrong singing “What A Wonderful World.“ The song was played for Parazynski in honor of today’s spacewalk.
Included in the nearly two tons of equipment being off-loaded from the Italian-built Raffaello are two new experiment racks that soon will be filled with science experiments currently in Endeavour’s middeck, and other experiments that will be brought to the station on future shuttle missions. Once the hatches are open late this afternoon after the spacewalk, European Space Agency astronaut Umberto Guidoni will take the lead in assisting the station crewmembers in the unloading of Raffaello and the repacking of discarded items in the module for return to Earth.
Both spacecraft are in excellent shape orbiting the Earth every 92 minutes at an altitude of 237 statute miles. The next status report will be issued this evening after the crew goes to sleep, or when events warrant.
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