Successful spacewalk ends
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: June 5, 2009
Michael Barratt, wrapping up his first spacewalk, rode a telescoping boom high above the International Space Station today for a photo survey of newly installed docking antennas. In the process, he beamed down spectacular helmet cam views of the lab's Russian segment and the Earth 220 miles below.
"How's the view, Michael?" someone radioed.
"The station is so beautiful," Barratt replied.
Barratt and Expedition 20 commander Gennady Padalka began the spacewalk at 3:52 a.m., an hour behind schedule because of concern about higher-than-expected carbon dioxide levels in their new Orlan MK spacesuits. Russian engineers ultimately concluded the suits were good to go and the crew was cleared to proceed.
Working around the forward end of the Zvezda command module, Padalka and Barratt installed docking system antennas and cabling to permit a Russian docking module, scheduled for launch atop a Soyuz rocket in November, to home in on the station and dock at Zvezda's upward-facing port.
The MRM-2 module, similar to Pirs module attached to Zvezda's Earth-facing port, will serve as a combination airlock and docking module for future visits by Soyuz crew ferry craft and unmanned Progress supply ships. The new module will provide a fourth Russian docking port to support the increased traffic required by a full-time crew of six and permit Progress ships to dock at Pirs more frequently, providing improved roll control for the lab complex.
Padalka and Barratt had no problems installing the antennas needed for the automated rendezvous system. Russian engineers carried out electrical continuity checks to make sure the equipment was properly wired and Barratt, on the end of a Russian Strela boom, carried out a photo survey to make sure they were properly aligned.
The spacewalkers then returned to the Pirs module and closed its hatch at 8:46 a.m., ending a four-hour 54-minute spacewalk. Today's excursion, the 124th devoted to station assembly and maintenance, pushed total EVA construction time to 779 hours and 54 minutes.
Padalka and Barratt plan to carry out a short internal spacewalk Wednesday, working in vacuum inside Zvezda's forward compartment to complete the zenith port's outfitting.