Space station life back to normal Astronauts finish up tasks put on hold during repairs

first_imgHOUSTON – Restoration of a failed computer system returned life to a regular rhythm Sunday on the international space station as two astronauts completed the fourth spacewalk since space shuttle Atlantis docked with the outpost a week ago. “We’re slowly moving back into a normal mode of operations,” station commander Fyodor Yurchikhin radioed Mission Control in Moscow. The “normal mode” included the last spacewalk of the mission – a previously unscheduled fourth trip outside the space station to finish tasks originally scheduled for Friday. Astronauts on the Friday spacewalk had done the unplanned job of repairing a thermal blanket, which had peeled back near Atlantis’ tail during the June 8 launch. Astronauts Patrick Forrester and Steven Swanson completed almost all of their tasks in the nearly 6 -hour spacewalk Sunday. “We can report that things are still improving,” said flight director Holly Ridings. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! They activated a rotating joint – their top priority – on the outpost’s newest segment so a new pair of solar wings can track the sun and provide power to the station. The solar arrays were delivered to the space station by Atlantis. The astronauts also set up a new camera stanchion outside the station’s newest segment and a computer network cable between the United States and Russian sides of the space station. They were not able to bolt down a problematic debris shield and instead secured it in place with tethers. At the end of the day, flight controllers on the ground planned to give the rotating joint a small test by moving it 5 degrees. A more thorough test to see whether the solar arrays track the sun was in store for today. Today, flight controllers also planned to test the space station’s thrusters, which haven’t been used since the crash last week of the Russian computers, which control orientation and oxygen production. Yurchikhin and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov got four of the six computer processors operating again Friday. The remaining two were brought back online on Saturday but then flipped back off to be in “cold standby mode” so that they could be used if needed. last_img read more