Astronauts stay out longer to install batteries

Astronaut Tom Marshburn works on the  batteries on the International Space Station.

NASA TV

Astronaut Tom Marshburn works on the batteries on the International Space Station.

CAPE CANAVERAL — Astronauts outfitted the International Space Station with fresh batteries in an extra-long spacewalk Friday, moving slowly and even loitering at times to avoid a repeat of the suit trouble that cut short the previous outing.

Despite their dawdling pace, Christopher Cassidy and Thomas Marshburn managed to install all four new batteries.

For the second spacewalk in a row, Cassidy ended up with rising carbon dioxide levels in his suit. But the problem did not crop up until the battery work was complete, toward the end of what turned out to be a seven-hour, 12-minute spacewalk.

The last time Cassidy went out, on Wednesday, he was so gung-ho and moved so fast that the air-cleansing canister in his suit could not keep up. That resulted in rising carbon dioxide levels that forced an early end to the spacewalk.

The increased levels noted Friday were nothing like the other day, said Kieth Johnson, the lead spacewalk officer in Mission Control.

Johnson attributes Cassidy's hard-charging ways to his military training — he's a former Navy SEAL.

"Sending him to do a task, it's going to get done. He likes to get at it and get going and keep busy the entire time," Johnson told reporters. He will go back out Monday for the fifth and final spacewalk of shuttle Endeavour's visit.

The six new batteries are designed to store power collected by the solar wings on the far left end of the space station. Each one costs $3.6 million.

Astronauts stay out longer to install batteries 07/24/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:25pm]

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