Shuttle astronauts complete second spacewalk work
Endeavour space shuttle astronauts Richard Linnehan and Mike Foreman completed a more than 7-hour spacewalk early Sunday to install Canadian-built robot, the Dextre, outside the International Space Station ISS. ( dpa )
NASA said the spacewalk lasted 7 hours, 8 minutes as the astronauts attached the Dextre's two arms, each 3.35 metres in length, to the station.
The Dextre, costing more than 200 million dollars, is the final component of the ISS mobile servicing system designed to carry out maintenance and service work on the space station itself.
NASA said that the Dextre, which is also called the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator, is capable of sensing forces and movement of the objects it is manipulating. It also automatically compensates for the forces and movements in order to move an object smoothly.
The Dextre work is the second major spacewalk operation during the current Endeavour mission.
On Friday, astronauts during a 7-hour spacewalk installed the first component of Japan's long-awaited Kibo module - a laboratory for experiments that could produce new medicines for Earth.
Work was continuing on Sunday to complete the outfitting of the component, called the Japanese Logistics Module - Pressurized Section (JLP) from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The Endeavour is in day 5 of a planned 16-day mission to the ISS, with thee further spacewalks scheduled as more work is completed on the ISS.
Over the past year and a half, shuttles have transported huge elements to the ISS construction site, including large solar collectors and truss structures.
The goal is to finish construction by 2010 with double-the-space for orbiting astronauts and an expanded capacity for experiments so NASA can retire the heavy-lifting, but ageing, 26-year-old shuttles.
After the shuttle programme retires, Russia's Soyuz craft will continue to lift astronauts to the station, but because of its small size will be unable to carry the huge construction pieces and experimental modules now being transported by the shuttle.