First Spacewalk Mission of Shuttle Discovery Astronauts Completed Despite Robotic Arm Problem

By on Mar 1, 2011 in Astronomy, Headlines, Science Comments
First Spacewalk
Alvin Drew and Steve Bowen
during the first spacewalk of
their STS-133 mission

Credit: Paoli Nespoli / ESA / NASA

According to several international news sites, NASA astronauts Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew completed the first spacewalk of the shuttle Discovery‘s final space mission on Monday, February 28, despite a system failure temporarily shutting down the orbiting lab’s robotic arm while someone was riding it.

Bowen was stuck holding the ammonia pump at the end of the 57-foot robotic arm when the robotic arm went offline. He simply had to wait for it to go online again. “I’m fine as long as it’s not too much longer,” Bowen was quoted saying. He did not have to wait too long after crewmates inside the station fired up a backup system.

Bowen and Drew completed several maintenance jobs during the spacewalk which include the installation of an extension to a power cable. A new storage unit called the Permanent Multipurpose Module was also prepared.

Before going back inside, the two astronauts filled a metal container with samples of the vacuum of space for a Japanese space agency experiment known as “Message in a Bottle.” The collected sample will be later displayed on Earth.

The spacewalk lasted for six hours and 34 minutes, and wrapped up at 22:20 GMT.

A second spacewalk is scheduled for Wednesday.

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