Approaching midway through the estimated 12 day voyage of the space shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-132 to the International Space Station and the second of three spacewalks has been the highlight of the day.
The EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) featured astronauts Mike Good and Steve Bowen and centred on replacing the batteries of the P6 truss segment of the ISS. There are six in total and it was expected that three would be done today and three on Friday’s third and final spacewalk, but four were done today, along with fixing the snagged cable on the camera boom that prevented a full view of the shuttle (or indeed use of the main camera at all) during its inspection back flip.
The walk began at 12:15 BST with that cable release task before moving to the solar arrays to began battery replacement. The six batteries that are the focus of the spacewalk today and Friday are all located on one solar panel segment, there are four solar panel segments, meaning twenty-four such batteries, giving 192 kilowatt hours of power between them, providing power during the time when the ISS is in the Earth’s shadow during its 90 minute orbit. The batteries are nickel hydrogen, with 38 cells per battery.
At 16:52 BST, four batteries were in place, so the astronauts tightened the bolts on the antennae installed during the first spacewalk. Having done this, the walk ended at 18:47 BST. Video was relayed to viewers across the globe via NASA TV and then archived to their youtube channel, from which some clips are shown below:
A feed of quick bites of mission news can be found through NASA’s twitter feed and if you want to see the station itself in your own skies, then Heavens Above will provide times (but only when the ISS orbit is just right for you to see it).