Tuesday, November 25, 2008

745p 11/24 Update: Spacewalk ends

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CBS NEWS STS-126 STATUS REPORT: 66
Posted: 7:45 PM, 11/24/08

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Analyst

Changes and additions:

   SR-63 (11/24/08): Spacewalk begins
   SR-64 (11/24/08): Inspection of port SARJ shows signs of wear on bearing race
   SR-65 (11/24/08): Starboard SARJ work complete; port SARJ lubrication now half done
   SR-66 (11/24/08): Spacewalk ends

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7:45 PM, 11/24/08, Update: Spacewalk ends

Astronauts Stephen Bowen and Robert "Shane" Kimbrough ended at six-hour seven-minute spacewalk today at 7:31 p.m. after servicing the space station's two solar array rotary joints and making preparations for attachment of new components next year.

"Outstanding work today, guys," spacewalk coordinator Eric Boe radioed from the shuttle-station complex. "Great EVA, really enjoyed working with you and it was a great day."

Today's excursion was the 118th in station assembly history, the 19th of 20 planned this year and the fourth and final outing for the shuttle Endeavour's crew. Total station EVA assembly time now stands at 745 hours and 29 minutes, while Endeavour's total ends up at 26 hours and 41 minutes. Bowen logged 19 hours and 56 minutes during EVAs 1, 3 and 4 while Kimbrough put in 12 hours and 52 minutes during spacewalks 2 and 4. Crewmate Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, who participated in the first three spacewalks and two excursions in 2006, has logged 33 hours and 42 minutes of EVA time, moving her to 25th on the list of most experienced spacewalkers.

Bowen and Kimbrough accomplished all of their objectives today, finishing up work on the station's right-side solar alpha rotary joint by installing a final bearing assembly and lubricating a final 30-degree segment of its 10-foot-wide drive gear. One of the three bearing races on the drive gear has suffered extensive damage because of a lubrication failure and engineers hope the servicing by Endeavour's crew will permit periodic sun-tracking sessions to maximize solar power production. A test run is planned for Tuesday morning.

While Bowen worked on the starboard SARJ, Kimbrough lubricated the left-side joint to reduce friction and prevent similar problems down the road. He also installed a new TV camera on the solar power truss while Bowen prepared the Japanese Kibo module for the attachment of an external experiment shelf next year.

There were no problems of any significance other than a slight buildup of carbon dioxide in Kimbrough's suit toward the end of the spacewalk. He had similar buildups during a spacewalk last Thursday and flight controllers asked him to rest periodically to help lower the CO2 level.

Inside the station, meanwhile, commander Mike Fincke helped flight controllers in an on-going effort to troubleshoot problems with the lab's newly installed urine processor assembly. Today, while checking the water processing rack's cooling, Fincke discovered a connection that was not fully seated. He then filled the system for another test run early Tuesday.

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Quick-Launch Web Links:

CBS News STS-126 Status Reports:
http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/current.html

CBS News STS-126 Quick-Look Page:
http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/currentglance.html

NASA ISS Expeditions Page:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/index.html

NASA Shuttle Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/index.html
NASA Station Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/index.html
Spaceflight Now: http://spaceflightnow.com/index.html
GoogleSatTrack: http://www.lizard-tail.com/isana/tracking/

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