Mixed Bag for Last Three Spacewalks

Atlantis astronaut Andrew Feustel during the first spacewalk Thursday.

Atlantis astronaut Andrew Feustel during the first spacewalk Thursday. Image Credit: NASA

Saturday’s spacewalk was smooth sailing as astronauts revived a dead space camera on the Hubble Space Telescope.  Sunday’s spacewalk was much more difficult.   

On Sunday, astronauts Michael Massimino and Michael Good worked to repair the space telescope imaging spectrograph, or STIS, a device that scans the cosmos for black holes.  To replace the malfunctioning circuit board, Massimino had to remove 111 tiny screws in a cover plate on the back of the STIS.  But to get to the screws, he had to unbolt a handrail blocking his way.  The last bolt wouldn’t move and took more than a hour to finally be freed.  Once Massimino started on the screws, his power drill malfunctioned.  With all of the problems, the spacewalk took three hours longer than expected, even with cutting some scheduled jobs.

Today, astronauts Andrew Feustel and John Grunsfeld completely the final spacewalk easily, even having the time to complete the projects cut yesterday.  Astronauts fitted the final set of replacement batteries and a replacement fine guidance sensor for Hubble.  Feustel and Grunsfeld also fitted three new outer Blanket Layers, which protect the external insulation blankets covering the Hubble’s instrument bay doors, finishing the job from yesterday.

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