Army Astronaut Preps for Space Walk
Col. Doug Wheelock shares the airlock with Scott Parazynski as the two mission specialists prepare for their Oct. 26 spacewalk, the first of five scheduled by various crewmembers while the Space Shuttle Discovery is docked to the International Space Station.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 29, 2007) -- Army astronaut Col. Doug Wheelock and mission specialist Scott Parazynski are scheduled to camp out tonight in the airlock of Space Shuttle Discovery in preparation their spacewalk Tuesday morning.

The two astronauts are scheduled to attach a P-6 truss to the port side of the International Space Station and deploy solar arrays on the truss. Mission managers have decided to add inspections of the port Solar Alpha Rotary Joint to tomorrow's spacewalk -- the third walk of mission STS-120.

Col. Wheelock and Dr. Parazynski made the mission's first spacewalk on Friday when they attached the Harmony node to the Unity node of the space station. The Harmony node will enable two additional laboratories to eventually be attached the International Space Station during future missions, Col. Wheelock said. He explained that the Columbus Laboratory from the European Space Agency will be attached to the starboard side of the node and a Japanese experiment module laboratory will eventually be attached on the portside.

"We like to think of our mission as sort of a gateway to opening up and expanding the capability of the station to be that world-class science platform that we hope and dream that it will be," Col. Wheelock said during an earlier interview. "It will also open up the capability to expand the long-duration crew on the station from a crew of three to something upwards of six people eventually...

"So this module is very, very important in that it provides a gateway to house those other laboratories and will also provide life support systems, power and data transmission and all the things required for laboratories to interact and be integrated with each other, and also be able to deliver the power to those laboratories where they can do the science that we desire."

Col. Wheelock and Dr. Parazynski are now reviewing procedures and practicing techniques they will use during the spacewalk set to begin at 5:28 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

Others astronauts from both the Space Shuttle Discovery and International Space Station crews are using robotic arms to move the P6 truss segment into place so that it could be fastened down during the Tuesday morning spacewalk.

The shuttle robotic arm operators have handed the P6 truss back to the station robotic arm operators. The shuttle's Canadarm took the P6 from the station's Canadarm2 earlier this morning and held it until Canadarm2 moved closer to the worksite. The Canadarm2 operators will install P6 to the P5 truss during the mission's third spacewalk.

The second spacewalk of mission STS-120 was conducted Sunday by Dr. Parazynski and astronaut Daniel Tani. They detached the P6 solar arry truss from the top of the space station so that robotic arms could move it to where it needs to be attached tomorrow.

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