Atlantis spacewalkers complete ISS battery swap
Next trick: iPhone battery swap
Mission specialists Michael Good and Garrett Reisman are back aboard the shuttle Atlantis, safe and sound, after a spacewalk of six hours and 46 minutes.
On this third and final spacewalk of STS-132, Good and Reisman replaced the final two of the six new 375-pound batteries that Atlantis brought to the International Space Station, installing these on the Port 6 solar array, and proving that there may be something in the universe for which a battery swap is more time-consuming than an Apple iPhone.
During the spacewalk — the 239th taken by US astronauts and the 146th in support of the ISS — the two weightless wonder-workers also installed a backup ammonia jumper cable, moved a robot arm grapple unit from the shuttle to the ISS, adjusted a robot-arm insulation blanket, and restocked external tool boxes.
According to CBS News, Good and Reisman also enjoyed the view. At one point Reisman asked STS-132 pilot Dominic Antonelli: "Are we over, like, Bermuda or something?" Antonelli told him that they were over the Bahamas, and that "You can see the Cape [Canaveral] if you look back the other way."
After a short discussion about how the three could discern the runways at the Cape, Antonelli told mission control: "And Houston, we've got the field in site."
"Houston copies," came the reply from astronaut Steve Swanson at mission control, but "We'd rather you not land just yet."
That return will occur when the 12-day mission is completed. On Saturday, day nine, the crew of STS-132 will occupy themselves by using the ISS's robotic arm to move the cargo pallet back into Atlantis' payload bay, answering questions from students in a live hook-up, and kicking back for a bit of off-time in the afternoon. ®