[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] - [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]


Shuttle Crew Installs Docking Port on Space Station

.c The Associated Press
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Oct. 16) - Two spacewalking astronauts working with a 
crewmate inside shuttle Discovery attached a new docking port to the 
international space station on Monday.

The clearances were tight, and Jeff Wisoff and Michael Lopez-Alegria floated 
alongside the space station, calling out instructions, as Koichi Wakata 
gently nudged the docking port into place with the space shuttle's robot arm.

''Wow. This is just outstanding,'' one of the spacewalkers said when it was 

''Definitely,'' was the reply.

It was the second and final space station piece to be installed during the 
240-mile-high construction mission. An aluminum framework holding antennas 
and motion-control devices was attached to the station on Saturday and wired 
up by another pair of spacewalkers on Sunday.

Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria encountered problems as soon as they floated out the 
hatch. At first, their power drills wouldn't loosen the four latches holding 
down the docking port in Discovery's cargo bay.

''Who's scripting this, anyway?'' one of them asked.

Once the latches were freed, Japanese astronaut Wakata lifted the 2,700-pound 
docking port on the end of Discovery's robot arm and positioned it on the 
space station. The spacewalkers, one on each side, sounded like moving men as 
they advised Wakata during the final 1 1/2 feet: Go in 3 inches, pitch up 1 
degree, turn one-quarter of a degree to the left.

''OK, coming in,'' Wakata finally called out.

The spacewalkers' eyes proved invaluable. A short circuit knocked out a 
camera on the end of the robot arm Saturday.

The docking port will be used by space shuttle Endeavour when it delivers 
huge solar panels in December and by Atlantis when it carries up the American 
lab Destiny in January.

The spacewalk ended up lasting seven hours, a half-hour longer than planned.

''Fantastic job today, guys,'' astronaut Leroy Chiao said from the cockpit.

Two more spacewalks are planned, on Tuesday and Wednesday. They should be 
easier than the first two, said Daryl Schuck, the lead spacewalk officer in 
Mission Control.

The astronauts will depart from the space station on Friday. And if all goes 
well, the next crew to dock will be the station's first residents.

Their planned Oct. 30 launch aboard a Russian rocket from Kazakstan could be 
delayed a couple days if Discovery completes all of its station-raising 
maneuvers, said flight director Chuck Shaw.

Discovery's pilots fired the shuttle thrusters Monday and boosted the station 
into a slightly higher orbit; two more lifts are planned.

''I guess it's stay tuned for the actual launch date for that mission,'' Shaw 
Via the sarex mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe sarex" to Majordomo@amsat.org