A bonus excursion into the payload was conducted aboard Columbia this morning to complete tasks originally planned for the mission’s first spacewalk. Prior to the spacewalk, the crew used the Spartan satellite, remaining securely attached to Columbia’s mechanical arm, as a laser target to prepare for future automatic spacecraft dockings.
Winston Scott and Takao Doi switched their suits to battery power at 3:09 this morning signalling the start of their second spacewalk , planned to once again test a manual crane that will eventually make its way to the International Space Station. The crane is designed to help in moving components and tools more easily around the outside of the station. The two astronauts also watched as pilot Steve Lindsey remotely piloted a unique, beachball-sized camera around the payload bay to demonstrate its usefulness in providing an extra set of ‘eyes’ to perform remote inspections of the shuttle or station.
The four-hour, fifty-nine-minute, forty-second spacewalk ended at 8:09 a.m. this morning. Combined with the first spacewalk duration of 7 hours, 43 minutes, Scott and Doi completed 12 hours and 44 minutes outside Columbia’s crew cabin during the mission.
The spacewalk included repeating part of the crane operations, but instead of the large simulated battery for the station, the astronauts worked with a smaller orbital replacement unit simulator which represents small objects it will have to move during station assembly.
The tests of the Aercam Sprint, the free-flying video camera, were controlled by Lindsey via a joystick on Columbia’s aft flight deck during the spacewalk. Future versions of the unit will have an autonomous capability to fly to a designated area and perform surveys.
This mission’s two spacewalks are the first EVAs ever performed from Columbia, which has been mostly used as a carrier for Spacelab missions that have not included spacewalks.
The next status report will be issued later today.
- end -