The six-person crew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia turned in for a well-deserved rest at 5:46 a.m. this morning following a busy night that saw two crewmembers perform a spacewalk to capture a wayward satellite and evaluate equipment and procedures that will be used with future International Space Station operations.
Winston Scott and Takao Doi began their spacewalk at 6:02 p.m. CST Monday evening and quickly moved into position on a support structure in Columbia’s payload bay as Commander Kevin Kregel piloted the Shuttle towards the Spartan solar satellite.
After Kregel maneuvered Columbia into close proximity with Spartan, Scott and Doi captured the satellite by hand at 8:09 p.m. CST. The two spacewalkers then carefully lowered Spartan down onto its support structure, and the free-flyer unit was latched in place at 9:23 p.m.
With the retrieval of Spartan completed, Scott and Doi then turned their efforts towards setting up and testing a crane device which will be used to move large Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs) during the assembly and maintenance of the International Space Station.
After the crane was positioned in its holder on the port side of the payload bay, Doi conducted evaluation tests of the crane operating characteristics while Scott removed a large battery unit and its carrier device located on the starboard wall. The 500-pound battery/carrier unit was then placed on the end of the crane to evaluate the unit’s ability to move with a large mass attached to it.
Doi and Scott then stowed the battery unit and the crane device. Towards the end of their spacewalk, Doi took a few moments to send a message home in Japanese just before re-entering Columbia’s airlock. After Scott joined him, the external hatch was closed and the airlock was repressurized bringing to an end a 7-hour, 43-minute spacewalk at 1:45 a.m. CST. Including the spacewalk he did during a Shuttle mission in January 1996, Scott now has 14 hours, 36 minutes of spacewalking time. Doi, who is on his first spaceflight, has the distinction of being the first Japanese person to perform a spacewalk.
The STS-87 crew will receive a wake up call from Mission Control at 1:46 p.m. this afternoon to begin Flight Day Seven activities.
Columbia continues to perform flawlessly with no systems problems. The next STS-87 status report will be issued at approximately 6 p.m. Tuesday.
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