Astronauts To Finish Tasks With New Station Lab

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) -- A few final tasks related to the international space station's newest lab awaited space shuttle Discovery astronauts on Monday.

The $1 billion lab's robotic arm was going to be fully extended by astronauts. The 33-foot robotic arm was first moved on Saturday, but only very slightly.

"They will do a series of motions. It will practically extend all the way out," said flight director Annette Hasbrook.

At the end of the test, the arm will be folded up and stored, out of the way of the lab's windows.

Over the summer, the station's crew will continue checking out the arm. This will culminate with the arm being used to grapple a storage shed that sits atop the lab.

The robotic arm won't be used for any actual work until after the launch into orbit next year of the lab's third and final section - a "porch" for exterior experiments - and a second, smaller robotic arm.

The 37-foot lab, named Kibo, Japanese for hope, was delivered by the shuttle and installed on the space station last week. The bus-size lab is the biggest room at the space station.

Later on Monday, astronauts planned to open up Kibo's storage shed, which has been sealed up since it was moved last week from a different location on the station to the lab.

The lab's shed - essentially a 14-foot closet or attic - was delivered to the station by another shuttle crew in March.

Astronauts were going to remove some equipment in the shed that is needed in other sections of the space station.

Emily Nelson, a space station flight director, said the shed will provide something that is often in short supply at the orbiting outpost.

"If you can imagine how full your house gets with stuff as you go through your life. But you can never have a garage sale and very infrequently can you take anything away. We have that problem on station," she said. "This will provide much needed storage space."

On Sunday, astronauts Michael Fossum and Ronald Garan Jr. completed the shuttle mission's third and final spacewalk on the orbiting outpost, replacing an empty gas tank and collecting a sample of dusty debris from a solar power wing's rotating joint. NASA is hoping the debris will give it clues about why another joint is malfunctioning.

Discovery and its crew are scheduled to leave the station on Wednesday.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WTOK-TV 815 23rd Ave Meridian, Ms. 39301 Phone: (601) 693-1441
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 19654594