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Endeavour astronauts complete first space walk

Two astronauts from the US shuttle Endeavour late Saturday successfully completed the first of five scheduled spacewalks aimed at completing a Japanese laboratory at the International Space Station, NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
NASA
 in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Independent U.S.
 said.

Tim Kopra, who made his first space walk, and Dave Wolf, an old hand with four walks under his belt, returned to the ISS's decompression chamber decompression chamber
n.
A compartment in which atmospheric pressure can be gradually raised or lowered, used especially in readjusting divers or underwater workers to normal atmospheric pressure or in treating decompression sickness.
 and closed the airlock airlock
Noun

1. a bubble of air blocking the flow of liquid in a pipe

2. an airtight chamber between places that do not have the same air pressure, such as in a spacecraft or submarine

Noun 1.
 at 2151 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) See UTC.

GMT - Universal Time 1
 Saturday, 37 minutes ahead of schedule, NASA TV NASA TV (originally NASA Select) is the television network of the US space agency, NASA. NASA TV is broadcast by satellite, and also simulcast over the Internet. Many local cable television systems across the US and Canada carry the channel, as do some amateur television  reported.

The duo's spacewalk Verb 1. spacewalk - move in space outside a space craft
walk - use one's feet to advance; advance by steps; "Walk, don't run!"; "We walked instead of driving"; "She walks with a slight limp"; "The patient cannot walk yet"; "Walk over to the cabinet"
 lasted five hours and 32 minutes, US space agency officials said.

"The third and final piece of Japan?s Kibo laboratory was assembled on orbit Saturday, a symphony of robotic and spacewalking performances by the 13 member orchestra aboard the International Space Station complex," NASA said in a statement.

The 1.9-tonne unit known as the Japanese Exposed Facility (JEF JEF Jefferies Group, Inc. (stock symbol)
JEF Junge Europäische Föderalisten (German: Young European Federalists)
JEF Joint Educational Facilities, Inc.
), will serve "as a type of porch for experiments that require direct exposure to space," NASA said.

From inside the ISS ISS

See Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS).
, astronauts Koichi Wakata and Doug Hurley used the station?s Canadarm2 to grasp the JEF unit and lift it out of the Endeavour payload bay.

"They handed the facility to the shuttle?s Canadarm and moved the station?s arm into position for installation. The shuttle arm handed off the new Kibo component to the station arm, and then the station arm was used to move the new "porch" into position for installation to the Kibo pressurized pres·sur·ize  
tr.v. pres·sur·ized, pres·sur·iz·ing, pres·sur·iz·es
1. To maintain normal air pressure in (an enclosure, as an aircraft or submarine).

2.
 module," NASA said.

Earlier, on their first full day in space, the Endeavour crew of six Americans and one Canadian tested rendezvous equipment, installed a camera for the orbiter docking system and extended the docking ring that sits on top of the system.

The Endeavour mission aims to help fulfill "Japan's hope for an out-of-this-world space laboratory," as the shuttle delivers state-of-the-art equipment to conduct experiments in the vacuum of space, according to NASA.

Wolf and Kopra had spent the night in the Quest airlock to reduce the preparation time needed for the walk.

The shuttle successfully docked at the space station Friday amid questions about the integrity of the shuttle's heat shield tiles.

However NASA on Saturday said that a close analysis of pictures of Endeavour's heat shield confirmed the absence of any damage.

During the delicate docking maneuver Friday the two space vehicles traveled at 28,000 kilometers (17,398 miles) per hour as they approached each other, giving Commander Mark Polansky a margin of error of 4.5 centimeters (1.8 inches) to complete the procedure, NASA said.

The entry of Endeavour's crew aboard the ISS brought the number of astronauts inside the orbiting space station to a record 13.

Kopra will be staying aboard the ISS, taking over from Japanese engineer Koichi Wakata, who has been in space for 124 days.

The ISS should be completed in 2010, also the target date for the retirement of the US fleet of three space shuttles.
Copyright 2009 AFP Global Edition
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Jul 19, 2009
Words:471
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