Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Shuttle repair spacewalk ends in success

Kelly Young writes on

Astronaut Steve Robinson successfully completed the first ever spacewalk underneath the space shuttle just before 0900 EDT (1300 GMT) on Wednesday in order to make a running repair to the orbiter’s heat shield.

Robinson smoothly pulled out two gap fillers that were sticking out from between heat shield tiles. “It’s pulling out very easily,” Robinson said as he removed the first gap filler protruding from tiles on the orbiter’s nose landing-gear door. He estimated he used only 6.7 newtons (1.5 pounds) of force to pull it out and then stashed it in a trash bag, so it would not float away.

Then, after being moved to the second location by the International Space Station's robotic arm, he used his forefinger and thumb to gently pluck the second gap filler out. This filler showed a bright red smear, which was the adhesive used to hold it in place. “That came out pretty easily," he said. "Probably even with less force.”


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