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Endeavour astronauts conduct repairs on third spacewalk

This videograb provided by NASA shows US space shuttle Endeavour Mission Specialist Steve Bowen on November 22, 2008 as he works on the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) of the International Space Station (ISS) during the third of four planned spacewalks for the STS-126 mission.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 23, 2008
Two astronauts on the US space shuttle Endeavour have completed a seven-hour spacewalk as part of an effort to repair the orbiting International Space Station.

Americans Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper, 45, and Steve Bowen, 44, cleaned and lubricated the station's three double solar antenna arrays attached to the orbiter's exterior, working in bulky spacesuits almost 220 miles (354 km) above the Earth.

The spacewalk, the longest of the 15-day mission, which began on November 15, was completed at 0058 GMT Sunday.

Stefanyshyn-Piper and Bowen, both US navy captains, worked on repairs of the ISS's starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint race ring and replacing trundle bearing assemblies. The worn-out parts will be taken to Earth for inspection.

The complex work was orchestrated by Shane Kimbrough, 41, who was on a spacewalk along with Stefanyshyn-Piper on Thursday.

The mission's fourth spacewalk, continuing the repair work, is scheduled for Monday. During this upcoming mission, the astronauts will focus on the lubrication and servicing of the port solar alpha rotary joint and the replacement of the final trundle bearing assembly.

The spacewalks are part of an ambitious "home improvement" project designed to double the station's crew capacity from three to six.

As the two astronauts worked on the exterior, the rest of the seven-strong crew ferried equipment from the Endeavour module to the ISS. Starting from Wednesday, the team began installing a freezer and an oven for scientific experiments by NASA's Destiny Laboratory Module.

The additions also include two new sleeping quarters, exercise equipment, a second toilet, two new ovens and a refrigerator.

During an earlier spacewalk on Tuesday, Stefanyshyn-Piper let slip her tool bag and watched helplessly as it floated off into the void of space. Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston however said the work on the ISS's solar antenna rotation system would continue as planned.

Meanwhile, NASA experts continued to work on problems with a 250-million-dollar urine processor unit that is designed to process urine, perspiration and bath water into drinkable water.

NASA said a centrifuge motor inside the distillation unit was running too slow and drawing too much electrical current.

The device is essential for doubling the accommodation capacity, as it would be able to recycle the station's 6.8 tonnes of waste water produced each year.

Once in place, the unit would make it no longer necessary to regularly ferry vast quantities of water to the space station.

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Endeavour astronauts work on repairs on third spacewalk
Washington (AFP) Nov 22, 2008
Two astronauts on the US space shuttle Endeavour completed a seven-hour spacewalk Saturday, in the mission's third scheduled spacewalk to repair the orbiting International Space Station.

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