Endeavour astronauts prepare for 2nd spacewalk

Endeavour astronauts Andrew Feustel and Mike Fincke are scheduled to perform the second spacewalk of the STS-134 mission on Sunday to continue outfitting and maintenance of the space station complex, NASA said.

The STS-134 mission’s first spacewalk was performed by Greg Chamitoff and Feustel on May 20, 2011 and lasted about six hours, during which the astronauts installed a light fixture and swapped out some experiments parked outside the space station. The astronauts were installing an antenna when the ground controllers halted the work after a carbon dioxide sensor failed in Chamitoff’s space suit.

Endeavour blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center on Monday for its 25th and final flight and arrived at the International Space Station on Wednesday to deliver the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and spare parts.

Both the spectrometer, which is a particle physics detector designed to operate from the station and search for various types of unusual matter, and spare parts were installed with robotic cranes.

The Endeavour will be the second to last NASA space shuttle to retire. The Atlantis is due to perform its final mission in July.

Once the shuttle fleet is retired, Russian Soyuz craft will be the only way for astronauts to reach the ISS until at least the middle of the decade. NASA is paying its Russian counterpart Roscosmos more than $1 billion for crew transport services over the next four years.

MOSCOW, May 22 (RIA Novosti)

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