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The first spacewalk of the Discovery mission on the space station has ended

Astronauts Korbman and Vogelsang installed the P5 component. A second spacewalk is expected tonight to wire the station's electrical system to the solar collectors on P6 * No manned inspection of the damaged wing is expected

In the photo: Astronaut Bob Korbim on the first spacewalk on mission STS-116. Photo: NASA TV
In the photo: Astronaut Bob Korbim on the first spacewalk on mission STS-116. Photo: NASA TV
The assembly of the space station advanced one more step during the passing night, thanks to the assembly of the P5 component - which is part of the corridor of the International Space Station and therefore also of its backbone, during the first spacewalk of the STS-116 mission by astronauts Bob Korbim and Christer Vogelsang.

The spacewalk began on Tuesday at 3:31 p.m. EST (22:31 p.m. Israel time) and ended at 10:07 a.m. EST - 05:07 a.m. Israel time on Wednesday morning. Component P5 was attached to component P4, after about two and a quarter hours from the start of the spacewalk. Astronaut Joan Hignobotham used the station's robotic arm to move the new component a few centimeters from the station, and then the spacewalkers instructed Hignobotham how to direct the arm to the exact location.

After connecting the component, the astronauts also completed connecting the infrastructure to it - this means the data cables, electricity and heating. They also replaced the broken camera that was outside the S1 component. Because they were ahead of schedule, NASA also allowed them to perform some of the simpler tasks expected of future spacewalks.

At the end of the spacewalk, congregants congratulated the Nobel Prize winners, including John Matter from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, who won the prize for his contribution to the understanding of the Big Bang theory.

In the STS-116 mission, two more spacewalks are expected, during which the astronauts will rewire the station's entire electrical system. The first step will take place tonight, when the two will rotate the solar collectors, so that from now on they will be able to be remotely activated and automatically directed towards the sun. The third spacewalk is expected on Saturday.

In addition, NASA's Control Center in Houston reported to Discovery Commander Mark Polanski that his crew was not required to perform a targeted examination of the station's heat shield on Wednesday's spacewalk. As we know, NASA is examining whether foam falling during launch and a micro meteorite hitting the wing could endanger the astronauts on their way back to Earth, and the answer is that there is no such concern.

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