3 June:A pair of astronauts floated out of the International Space Station on Tuesday to detach a giant Japanese laboratory from the US shuttle Discovery for its installation on the orbiting outpost.
Mission specialists Mike Fossum and Ron Garan were over Southeast Asia when they began the first of three spacewalks planned for the Discovery mission, according to NASA television.
Before unlocking Kibo, the spacewalkers worked on transferring an inspection boom from the station back to the shuttle.The boom was left at the ISS during the last mission because the bus-sized lab needed room in Discovery’s payload bay.
After moving the boom, the spacewalkers will remove contamination covers from Kibo’s docking surfaces, disconnect heater cables and remove locking bolts from shutters of its forward window.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and American colleague Karen Nyberg will then operate the station’s robotic arm to remove Kibo and attach it to the ISS.
"Obviously it’s going to be a really big day for Japan" said ISS flight director Emily Nelson."It’s a big day for us as well, bringing the largest laboratory that we’ll have on the space station on orbit and getting it up and running."
Discovery arrived at the station on Monday with seven astronauts on board, joining the ISS’s three-man crew for a nine-day stay in an orbit about 338 kilometres above Earth.Courtsey: DD NEWS