The crew of Columbia completed the second of five planned spacewalks this morning with the successful installation of a new port solar array and a new Reaction Wheel Assembly (RWA) on the Hubble Space Telescope.
Spacewalkers Jim Newman and Mike Massimino spent seven hours 16 minutes installing the new equipment. Massimino, on his first spacewalk and Newman, making his fifth spacewalk, began their work at 12:40 a.m. CST. Newman and Massimino first removed the old port solar array and stowed it in Columbia’s payload bay for a return to Earth. They then installed a third-generation solar array and its associated electrical components, the Diode Box Assembly. When the solar array installation was complete, the spacewalkers moved on to the removal and replacement of the RWA. Nancy Currie once again used the shuttle’s robotic arm to maneuver the spacewalkers to and from the worksite at the port array of the telescope and the RWA in Bay 6.
Initial validation tests performed by the Space Telescope Operations Control Center in Greenbelt, Md. indicate that the new solar array and reaction wheel assembly are working flawlessly. The new RWA is one of four pointing devices on the telescope that uses its spin to control Hubble’s position, providing a steady view of the universe for the telescope’s sensitive cameras.
Toward the end of their spacewalk, Newman and Massimino also installed a thermal blanket on Bay 6, door stop extensions on Bay 5, and foot restraints in preparation for tomorrow’s spacewalk by John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan.
The spacewalkers also tested two bolts on the telescope’s aft shroud doors. Those doors protect the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS.) The two spacewalkers determined that the bottom of the two bolts required replacement and an aft shroud latch replacement kit was used to ensure that both bolts keep the door tightly closed.
During the spacewalk, Columbia Commander Scott Altman and Pilot Duane Carey used television and still-photo cameras to document the work, while monitoring systems onboard Columbia. Grunsfeld and Linnehan, who will be outside Columbia tomorrow for the third spacewalk of the mission, assisted Newman and Massimino from the aft flight deck.
The crew is scheduled to awaken at 7:52 p.m. CST. The next STS-109 mission status report will be issued Tuesday evening after crew wakeup, or as events warrant.
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