Shuttle astronauts head out on second spacewalk


Associated Press

SPACE CENTER, Houston — A spacewalking duo drifted out of space shuttle Discovery today to help install a docking port on the international space station.

It was the second spacewalk in as many days for the shuttle crew. Altogether, four spacewalks are planned for this space station construction mission.

Astronauts Jeff Wisoff and Michael Lopez-Alegria floated out to the sound of music from an Austin Powers movie, a favorite of the crew. Their crewmates played the recording to pep up the spacewalkers. "That was awesome," Wisoff said.

The spacewalkers’ first task was to release the 16 bolts that secured the new docking port in Discovery’s cargo bay.

Once the docking port was loose, shuttle robot arm operator Koichi Wakata was to lift the 2,700-pound structure to the bottom of the 140-foot space station jutting out of the cargo bay. Because of the tight clearances, Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria were needed to help guide it in to its berth on the station.

The spacewalkers also had to connect a multitude of cables during the planned 6 1/2-hour spacewalk, between the docking port and the space station’s Unity module.

Bill McArthur and Leroy Chiao kicked off the four days of exterior work Sunday, spending six hours working on the aluminum framework that was installed on the station the day before. Their excitement, particularly that of spacewalk rookie McArthur, streamed through the radio lines as they toiled 240 miles up.

"Woo-hoo!" McArthur shouted again and again. "This is too cool."

McArthur performed his chores while strapped to the end of Discovery’s 50-foot robot arm.

"I was wondering what it was going to be like being out on the end of the arm, not being able to see the shuttle," he said. "It’s a strange feeling. My toes are curling right up."

To NASA’s disappointment, hardly any of the spacewalking work was seen on Earth — either Sunday or Monday.

An antenna failure aboard Discovery has prevented the crew of seven from beaming down live, continuous video since Thursday. The astronauts have had to use a slower shuttle antenna to relay staggered snapshots and occasional snippets of video.

Astronauts have never attempted four spacewalks before on a space station mission. The most spacewalks conducted on a single shuttle flight is five; that was for critical repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope.

During the next six years, astronauts and cosmonauts will have to perform nearly 160 spacewalks to assemble the international space station, an awesome challenge even by NASA standards. By comparison, only 52 spacewalks have been conducted in almost 20 years of space shuttle flight — including Monday’s.

Lopez-Alegria made his first spacewalk today. This was the second spacewalk for Wisoff.

On the Net: NASA:



Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A few weeks before what could be her final professional UFC fight, Miranda Granger grimaces as she pushes a 45-pound plate up her driveway on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Her daughter Austin, age 11 months, is strapped to her back. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Daily Herald staff wins 5 honors at annual journalism competition

The Herald got one first-place win and four runner-up spots in SPJ’s Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

Panelists from different areas of mental health care speak at the Herald Forum about mental health care on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At panel, mental health experts brainstorm answers to staff shortages

Workforce shortages, insurance coverage and crisis response were in focus at the Snohomish forum hosted by The Daily Herald.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Report of downed hot air balloon turns up farmer’s tarp near Snohomish

Two 911 callers believed they saw a hot air balloon crash, leading to a major search-and-rescue response. It was a false alarm.

People gather for a color throw at Stanwood and Camano’s first-ever Pride celebration on Saturday, June 4, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘We’ve at least come a little ways’: Snohomish to host first Pride event

A 10 a.m. parade on First Street will be followed by a pop-up market with 60 vendors, a downtown wine walk, queer cabaret and more.

The site of a former 76 gas station and a handful of century old buildings will be the location for new apartments buildings at the corner of Pacific and Rucker on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Old gas station demolished for apartments in downtown Everett

A 200-unit apartment complex between three and seven stories tall is proposed at Pacific and Rucker avenues.

Kamiak High School is pictured Friday, July 8, 2022, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kamiak football coach fired amid sexual misconduct investigation

Police believe Julian Willis, 34, sexually abused the student in portable classrooms on Kamiak High School’s campus.

Police: Marysville man fist-bumped cop, exposing tattoos of wanted robber

The suspect told police he robbed three stores to pay off a drug debt. He’d just been released from federal prison for another armed robbery.

Cat killed, 9 people displaced after duplex fire in Everett

None of the people were injured in the fire reported around 1:15 a.m. in the 11500 block of Meridian Avenue S.

Gabriela Kelpe at her home on Friday, June 2, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Long waits, big bills: Everett mom’s painful search for dental care

When she learned she needed a root canal, Gabriela Kelpe read an infection could go to her unborn baby. But she struggled to get affordable care.

Most Read