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Two Atlantis astronauts complete first spacewalk of mission

05-18-2010 13:56 BJT

WASHINGTON, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Two U.S. astronauts conducted the first of three spacewalks for space shuttle Atlantis' STS-132 mission on Monday, NASA said.

According to the U.S. space agency, Atlantis's mission specialists Garrett Reisman and Steve Bowen began the spacewalk at 7:54 a.m. (1154 GMT), which lasted seven hours and 25 minutes.

They installed a new space-to-ground antenna that will increase the space station's ability to conduct two-way data, voice, and video communications. They put into place a new tool platform for the Dextre robot, and Bowen prepared six batteries that will be installed during the second and third spacewalks by loosening the bolts that hold the batteries in place. The batteries weigh approximately 2,200 pounds.

Meanwhile, the space shuttle's robotic arm has successfully grappled the Mini Research Module-1 for relocation to the space station. It will provide additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian spacecraft.

This was the first of three STS-132 spacewalks, 237th conducted by U.S. astronauts, the second for Reisman and the fourth for Bowen. It was the 144th in support of International Space Station assembly and maintenance, totaling 900 hours, 58 minutes.

Atlantis lifts off on Friday afternoon from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is the scheduled final voyage for Atlantis, which has flown 31 missions since it was put into service in 1985. It will have one final assignment: remain on standby in case the last shuttle crew needs a rescue.

Only two shuttle flights remain after Atlantis' flight. Discovery is targeted for launch in September with spare parts and equipment. Endeavour is due to launch in November carrying a 2- billion-dollar, multinational particle detector known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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