Spacewalkers Retract Spacecraft’s Antenna

Computer illustration of the station. Image credit: NASAAnother day, another spacewalk. For the last month it seems like astronauts on board the International Space Station have spent more days outside than inside.

Okay, not exactly. But Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin and Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria spent another day outside the station helping to retract a stuck antenna on a docked Progress cargo ship.

The antenna didn’t retract like it was supposed to when the unpiloted Progress ship docked with the station back in October 2006. The extended antenna would put the station at a bit of a risk when the spacecraft undocks in April 2007, so NASA decided to get it stowed safely away.

The astronauts spent a total of 6 hours and 18 minutes in space. They cut the struts holding up the antenna, and strapped it down with wire ties. It now has about 16 cm (6 inches) of clearance from the Zvezda module – plenty of room to undock safely.

This was the 10th spacewalk for Lopez-Alegria, a US record.

Original Source: NASA News Release