Spacewalk underway to install Columbus

11 February 2008

A spacewalk is underway outside the International Space Station to install the European Columbus laboratory. Astronauts Rex Walheim and Stanley Love officially started the spacewalk at 15:13 CET (14:13 UT). Follow the action live on NASA TV.

The two spacewalkers are busy with tasks to prepare Columbus for attachment to the Station. They will first install the Power Data Grapple Fixture on Columbus. The Station’s robotic arm will then grab the laboratory module and move it from Space Shuttle Atlantis’ payload bay to its new home on the starboard side of the Space Station’s Harmony module.

Columbus installation is scheduled to take place at 22:25 CET – although it may in fact be sooner as the spacewalk is so far proceeding ahead of schedule.

The spacewalkers will also detach nitrogen lines and begin other work to remove the Nitrogen Tank Assembly, a part of the Station’s thermal control system, from the P1 truss. The assembly will be replaced on the mission’s second spacewalk because its nitrogen is running low.

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