A day after receiving the good news that it would be safe for the space shuttle Discovery to return to earth, astronauts awoke Monday to begin their latest task: taking the second of three planned spacewalks to make repairs to the international space station.
Their more mundane tasks this time involved installing a spare external pump compartment to the station‘s cooling system and replacing a severed cable that provides power, video and data to the space station‘s rail car.
Replacing the cable on the rail car, or mobile transporter, is crucial for the continuation of construction of the space station. The cable was accidentally severed last December by a cable cutter. During Saturday‘s spacewalk, the astronauts immobilized a cable cutter on a duplicate cable leading to the transporter. "The most challenging thing tomorrow is going to be just the choreography, going back and forth in the payload bay," astronaut Mike Fossum said Sunday. "It‘s quite a ballet."
The shuttle‘s crew awoke Monday to a recording of Coldplay‘s "Clocks," which was requested by Sellers‘ family.
The shuttle‘s astronauts got welcome news Sunday when NASA managers cleared Discovery‘s thermal protective skin as safe to return to Earth next Monday. Hundreds of images of Discovery were taken during liftoff, in-flight to the space station and before docking with the complex to make sure the shuttle doesn‘t have any damage like the kind that doomed Columbia‘s seven astronauts in 2003.
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