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    Posted by Frank Morring, Jr. 3:10 PM on Feb 14, 2010

    Astronauts  Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick hooked up outside ammonia lines to help bring the new Tranquility into the International Space Station's cooling system, wrapping up the second spacewalk of three scheduled for the STS-130 space shuttle mission ahead of time in five hours, 54 minutes.

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    NASA TV

    With the spacewalk and other work inside, the Italian-built node is activated and ready for outfitting. Mission managers added one day to the mission to give the combined crews of the ISS and the space shuttle Endeavour more time to finish testing the station's balky water-recycling system and move it into the new node. While the station crew can do the job on its own, managers want to keep the extra hands available to help as long as possible.

    With the new schedule, Endeavour is due back at Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, Feb. 21.

    Inside Tranquility, astronauts ran into a snag when they couldn't install a temporary cover designed to protect the node's forward hatch from the time the station cupola is moved from its temporary position there to its permanent home on the Earth-facing side of the pressurized module. Engineers at Johnson Space Center were evaluating next steps, and may decide to postpone the relocation from tonight. Ultimately the hatch will be protected by a docking cone called a pressurized mating adaptor that is to be placed over it after the cupola is moved.

    The problem delayed depressurization of the cupola for the move. The unit's seven windows will give ISS crew members a panoramic view of the nadir side of the station and the Earth passing below.

    Behnken and Nick Patrick moved smoothly through their spacewalk Saturday night, emerging from the Quest airlock opposite Tranquility on the Unity node at 9:20 p.m. EST. Most of the time was spent hooking up the ammonia lines, which carry the coolant that will keep the node's electronics at the proper temperatures as the station goes through its 90-minute orbits in daylight and darkness.


    blog post photo
    NASA TV

    The pair also installed insulation over the pins and other hardware that held Tranquility in place during the rough ride to orbit in Endeavour's cargo bay, and attached handrails to help future spacewalkers move around the node's hull.

    blog post photo


    blog post photo
    NASA TV

    Inside Tranquilty, the crews finished installing the advanced resistive exercise device, a kind of microgravity Nautilus machine that astronauts will use to help mitigate the effects of prolonged weightless on their bodies. The new node will be a combination gym and recreation room for station crews, with life support systems in racks around the walls and the cupola available for enjoying  views of Earth when its protective shutters are open.

    Tags: os99, STS130, Endeavour, ISS, Tranquility, cupola, EVA

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