First spacewalk of Discovery mission meets all objectives
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: July 30, 2005
Astronauts Stephen Robinson and Soichi Noguchi wrapped up a smooth spacewalk today, testing heat-shield repair techniques, hot wiring one of the space station's gyroscopes and mounting an attachment device that later will hold a large external tool kit and spare parts box.
"You did a great job today," astronaut Mike Massimino radioed the crew from mission control. "It's just been a pleasure for us down here to work with you. Awesome views, great job, everything was just perfect. ... We'll look forward to another two great EVAs and a great flight continuing."
"Mike, thanks for your support, we appreciate it very much," replied astronaut Andy Thomas aboard Discovery.
The spacewalk began at 5:46 a.m. and ended at 12:36 a.m., for a total time of six hours 50 minutes. It was the 59th spacewalk devoted to station assembly and maintenance, pushing the cumulative total to 355 hours and five minutes by 40 NASA astronauts, 10 Russian cosmonauts, one Canadian, one Frenchman and now, one Japanese.
All of the objectives of the crew's first spacewalk were met, along with a few additional tasks. Noguchi was asked to photograph an apparently loose insulation blanket near Discovery's left-most cockpit window and Robinson retrieved two experiment packages mounted on the station's hull that were to have been brought back in next week.
"I can't even begin to tell you how excited and happy I am to welcome Steve and Soichi into the EVA hall of fame," said lead spacewalk planner Cindy Begley. "They have a total EVA time of six hours and 50 minutes today. They completed all of their scheduled tasks and they did all of them on the timeline and even some of them ahead of the timeline. ... I'm just more than happy with the performance today."
Flight controllers, meanwhile, reactivated control moment gyroscope No. 2, one of four used to maintain the station's orientation without the use of rocket fuel. CMG-2 was knocked off line earlier this year because of trouble with a circuit breaker. Robinson re-wired a patch panel today, bypassing the breaker and allowing controllers to spin it back up. CMG-1, which failed in 2002, will be replaced during a spacewalk Monday.
"The gyroscopes we have in the space station allow us to orient the space station without using any propellant, zero propellant, and if we got down to only one, we'd have to use the thrusters on the Russian segment in order to control our attitude," said station flight director Mark Ferring. "We really did not want to get down to a single gyroscope.
"With the recovery of the gyroscope here today, we're back up to three and after (a second spacewalk Monday), we're going to replace an entire gyroscope and we should be back up to a full count of four."
But gyro problems remain an issue. After CMGs 1 and 2 are spun up and put into operation, CMG-3 will be taken out of the control loop. While still functional, CMG-3 has been experiencing lubrication-related bearing issues while helping control the orientation of the massive station-shuttle complex.
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