Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Two Atlantis astronauts complete second spacewalk of mission


Two U.S. astronauts conducted the second of three spacewalks for space shuttle Atlantis' STS-132 mission on Wednesday, NASA said.

According to the U.S. space agency, Atlantis's mission specialists Steve Bowen and Michael Good began the spacewalk at 6:38 a.m. EDT (1038 GMT). During the seven-hour spacewalk, they plugged in four new batteries at the International Space Station and even repaired a loose antenna.

Besides, Bowen adjusted a cable on the end of the orbiter boom and used a plastic tie to hold it in position. This brief task was added after discovering early in the flight that the cable was inhibiting a camera from maneuvering correctly.

Two more batteries will be replaced Friday during the third and final spacewalk of Atlantis' flight.

Atlantis lifted off on Friday afternoon from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is the scheduled final voyage for Atlantis, which has flown 31 missions since it was put into service in 1985. It will have one final assignment: remain on standby in case the last shuttle crew needs a rescue.

Only two shuttle flights remain after Atlantis' flight. Discovery is targeted for launch in September with spare parts and equipment. Endeavour is due to launch in November carrying a 2-billion-dollar, multinational particle detector known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.


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