Wednesday, August 03, 2005

"I'm in the great outdoors"

The spacewalk is proceeding as planned this morning. As I write, the first piece of dangling material has been successfully removed from the underside of the Discovery. From Foxnews:

SPACE CENTER, Houston Armed with forceps and a makeshift hacksaw, a Discovery astronaut floated from the ship's airlock Wednesday for an unprecedented spacewalk to eliminate a potential source of dangerous overheating during the shuttle's re-entry.

Astronaut Stephen Robinson described his job as delicate, but simple: pull out or slice off two dangling pieces of filler material from Discovery's belly.

"OK, Andy, I'm in the great outdoors," Robinson told astronaut Andy Thomas after he followed spacewalking partner Soichi Noguchi out of the shuttle's airlock as it passed over Australia.

...Once under Discovery's belly, Robinson expected to spend about an hour removing or trimming the fillers from two locations near the shuttle's nose. Noguchi planned to find a place on the station where he could keep an eye on Robinson and communicate with astronauts aboard the orbiting complex in case his spacewalking partner couldn't.

NASA officials think Robinson should be able to easily pull the first gap filler about the thickness of three index cards bonded together by using his gloved hand.

Our prayers are with them.