Saturday, March 28, 2009

Out for a Stroll

Have you gone for your walk today? Did it take some effort? Was it just around the block?
These two men walked around their vehicle. It may have been an effortless walk for two former school teachers. This past Monday Joseph Acaba and Richard Arnold took their second and last space walk of this shuttle mission. They walked outside the International Space Station which is approximately 220 miles (354 km) from earth. Nevertheless it was work. They repositioned an equipment storage cart, deployed an external cargo mounting mechanism, lubricated the space station's robotic arm and reconfigured cables that power the station's gyroscopes. Their walk lasted 6 ½ hours. Spaceship Discovery docked on March 17 with the International Space Station, bringing cargo which included solar panels. During this mission the astronauts have installed the station's fourth and final pair of solar panels to expand the satellite's power supply. The mission also delivered astronaut Koichi Wakata, who has officially joined the permanent crew on the orbiting space station as its first Japanese member. He is replacing US astronaut Sandra Magnus, who will join the Discovery crew for the flight back to Earth. This departure is just one day before the Russian Soyuz rocket launches a mission carrying two more crew members to join the current International Space Station crew. Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and US astronaut Michael Barratt will replace Lonchakov and current commander Mike Fincke. In addition Hungarian-born software engineer and co-founder of Microsoft, Charles Simonyi, who is making his second trip to the station, is classified as a "spaceflight participant," really a tourist. It is reported that Simonyi paid $35 million US to book his second ticket to space. He first visited the station in April 2007. On Wednesday, March 25, 2009 Discovery undocked from the Space Station and stayed in space until today, Saturday March 28th when the craft is scheduled to conclude its 13 day mission with a return to earth.
I have to go for another walk. I didn’t go far this morning because it was so cool.

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