Spacewalkers Repair Thermal Blanket, Assist Array Folding

180159main_sts117_blanket_repair.jpgSpacewalkers Repair Thermal Blanket, Assist Array Folding

Image above: John (Danny) Olivas staples a loose thermal blanket to an adjacent one on the left OMS pod of Space Shuttle Atlantis. Image credit: NASA TV

Mission Specialists Danny Olivas and Jim Reilly performed repair work and helped fold solar arrays Friday during STS-117’s third spacewalk. The 7-hour, 58-minute excursion wrapped up at 9:22 p.m. EDT.

Shortly after the spacewalk’s start, Olivas and Reilly went to work on separate tasks. Olivas completed repair work on a thermal blanket that was out of position on space shuttle Atlantis. While attached to the shuttle robot arm, Olivas tucked the blanket back into place and then used a medical stapler to secure it to adjacent blankets on the left orbital maneuvering system pod.

Reilly went to work outside the International Space Station where he installed a hydrogen vent on the Destiny Laboratory. The vent is for a new oxygen generation system.

Later the spacewalkers moved up to the top of the P6 to assist with the retraction of the starboard solar array. A future shuttle crew will relocate the P6 to the end of the Port 5 truss.

Mission Specialist Pat Forrester coordinated Friday’s spacewalk activities. Pilot Lee Archambault and Mission Specialist Steve Swanson are the robot arm operators. STS-117’s final spacewalk will take place Sunday.

Early Saturday, Mission Specialist Suni Williams will break the record for longest-duration space flight by a woman. At 1:47 a.m., Williams will pass the 188-day, 4-hour mark held by Shannon Lucid since 1996.

Navigation Computers Troubleshooting Efforts Continue

This afternoon, the crew inside the International Space Station was able to power-up two lanes of the Russian Central Computer and two lanes of the Terminal Computer by using a jumper cable to bypass a faulty secondary power switch. The current plan is to allow the computers to operate overnight and analyze the data Saturday morning.

Earlier in the day, International Space Station Program Manager Mike Suffredini told reporters Russian and U.S. flight controllers and engineers are focusing on efforts for recovering the computers and options to maintain attitude control until the problem is resolved.

“I think we’re in good shape,” Suffredini said. “We still have a lot of options to go through to recover these machines. We’ve got a talented group of people to look at attitude control.”

The navigation computers provide backup attitude control and orbital altitude adjustments. For now, the station’s control moment gyroscopes are handling attitude control, with the shuttle’s propulsion system providing backup.

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