CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami/AP) — American astronauts Commander Jeffrey Williams and Kate Rubins performed some radiator work outside the International Space Station during a spacewalk Thursday morning.
Williams and Rubins headed over to a 44-foot-long thermal radiator that’s no longer in use and needs to be folded up to stay safe from space junk. Williams had a power drill for retracting the radiator, accordion style.
“Good to be out here,” Rubins called out.
During the six and half hour spacewalk, Williams and Rubin will also install the first of several enhanced high definition cameras on the station’s truss and tighten bolts on a joint that enables one of the station’s solar arrays to rotate.
The radiator was extended in 2012 to help stop a coolant leak. But the leak ended up being elsewhere. Another team of astronauts attempted the radiator retraction late last year, but couldn’t complete the job, so it fell into Williams and Rubins’ gloved hands. NASA wants to preserve the radiator as a spare; it’s part of the 250-mile-high lab’s heat-dispelling system.
The two astronauts also installed a new docking port during a spacewalk August 19th.
Williams returns to Earth next week. He already holds the NASA record for most accumulated time in orbit; his tally will reach 534 days over four missions by the time he’s back on Earth.
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