Shuttle astronaut Rick Mastracchio and International Space Station resident Clay Anderson hurried inside today, cutting their 3rd spacewalk an hour short when Mastracchio discovered that one of his spacesuit gloves had a gash in its outer layers. Even though the rip only penetrated through two of the glove’s five layers, NASA hurried them back inside as a precaution.
Even though the damaged glove ended the spacewalkers’ mission early, they had already completed most of their tasks during their 5.5 hours in space – the mission was supposed to last 6.5 hours. They completed their primary goal, moving an antenna from a temporary position on the P6 truss over to its permanent home on the Unity module. They also moved two rail carts, and added additional antenna parts to improve station communications.
By moving this equipment off the P6 truss, the module can then be relocated from its current position atop the station over to the end of the P5 truss.
The only uncompleted task was to bring in some space exposure experiments that had been running outside the station. Not to worry, these’ll get scooped up on a future spacewalk.
Although this wraps up the three spacewalks that NASA had planned for mission STS-118, NASA is now considering how the rest of the mission will play out. With the shuttle now connected to the International Space Station’s electrical grid, it’s capable of “borrowing” power, and extending its time in orbit up to 14 days. NASA is thinking that another spacewalk may occur on Friday, but could be put off until Saturday. This task might be combined with the installation of a new camera system that’ll help analyze shuttles for damage.
Original Source: NASA Status Update