Space shuttle Discovery’s crew are being faced with their last tasks aboard the international space station. The $1 billion lab’s robotic arm is slowly being extended by the astronauts as a test. They are moving at a very slow pace so that they do not damage the 33 foot hydraulic arm.
The robotic arm is not planned to do any actual work until after next year’s launch into orbit. The new lab on board the space station is 37 feet long. It is named Kibo (hope in Japanese) and was attached last week bringing preparations almost to a close. Now only one more chamber and a smaller arm need to be attatched to the space station.
Astronauts Take a Space Walk Outside of the International Space Station
Astronauts Michael Fossum and Ronald Garan Jr. also recently completed the shuttle mission’s third and final spacewalk in the orbiting outpost. During the UVA, astronauts replaced an empty gas tank and collected a sample of dusty debris from a solar power wing’s rotating joint. This dust may help NASA discover why another joint is malfunctioning. Discovery and its crew, however, are scheduled to leave the station on Wednesday.