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Atlantis crew fixes antenna dish on ISS during second spacewalk

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - Two U.S. astronauts from the crew of the space shuttle Atlantis carried out on Wednesday a second spacewalk to perform scheduled maintenance work on the International Space Station (ISS).

During the spacewalk, which lasted seven hours and nine minutes, astronauts Stephen Bowen and Michael Good "tightened the bolts connecting the space-to-ground antenna dish and boom... removed the tether that had been holding the dish and boom together and released the launch locks, allowing the antenna dish to rotate."

They also replaced four batteries on the station port solar array, NASA said.

This was the second of three spacewalks scheduled for the current Atlantis mission to the ISS.

Atlantis arrived at the ISS on Sunday to deliver the Russian Rassvet [MIM-1] research module and spare parts.

The 12-day mission is the last trip of Atlantis to the orbital station.

NASA is planning to scrap its Space Shuttle program by the end of the year. The U.S. space agency says the shuttles are outdated and too expensive to maintain.

The launch of the U.S. space shuttle Endeavor, which is planned for mid-November, will mark the end of the program.

Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft will take U.S. astronauts and cargo to the space station after NASA stops launching its shuttles.

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