The international space station's expedition 16 crew successfully completed an important spacewalk yesterday. It was needed to get the ISS ready for the arrival of space shuttle Atlantis, which delivers the Columbus space lab. This spacewalk, as well as another one scheduled for November, 24th, is needed to be able to attach Columbus. So successful completion of these tasks is a critical perquisite to launch STS-122.
The spacewalk was threatened by a problem with the spacesuits, which thankfully got cleared a few days ago. The ISS spacewalking schedule was not affected by the problem investigation.
This series of spacewalks is needed to attach the Harmony module to its permanent location. Harmony was delivered during Discovery's STS-120 mission. It could not be attached to its permanent location because that was used as the docking port for Discovery. So it was stowed at a temporary place and has been removed after Discovery departed. Yesterday's spacewalk, as well as the upcoming one, is dedicated to rewire Harmony to the station, so that the module is fully functional. In December, Atlantis will delivery the Columbus module, which will be attached to the Harmony module.
Visit NASA's space station page for a detailed report on the spacewalk.
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