BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: January 30, 2008
Space station commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Dan Tani began repressurizing the Quest airlock module at 12:06 p.m. to officially end a seven-hour 10-minute spacewalk. The astronauts successfully installed a replacement solar array positioning motor and carried out additional inspections to help engineers troubleshoot problems with a large rotary joint.
"Thanks for making it look so easy," astronaut Tom Marshburn radioed. "Thanks for the good work."
Whitson, the world's most experienced female spacewalker, has now logged 39 hours and 46 minutes of spacewalk time during six excursions while Tani's six-EVA total stands at 39 hours and 11 minutes. Whitson ranks 15th overall on the list of most experienced spacewalkers while Tani is 16th. Total space station EVA time now stands at 631 hours and 35 minutes through 101 spacewalks since assembly began in 1998.
NASA managers, meanwhile, are holding a final flight readiness review to assess plans to make another attempt to launch the shuttle Atlantis next week on a long-awaited space station assembly mission. The goal of the flight, delayed in December because of fuel sensor problems, is to attach the European Space Agency's Columbus module. NASA hopes to follow that flight with back-to-back missions to install two Japanese modules.
Today's successful replacement of the solar array positioning motor means the station should be able to generate enough power to support the new modules.