Chris Hadfield became the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk today. With NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski, now an honorary Canadian, they installed an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) antenna and moved the Canadarm2, which is still on its pallet, onto the International Space Station (ISS).
The spacewalk lasted nearly seven hours with hardly any problems. Hadfield experienced some minor eye irritation and by the end of the walk he said his eyes were at 100%. The other minor problem involved expandable bolts on the Canadarm2. They had to switch to manual mode on the bolt fastener to make sure they screwed the bolts in the right number of turns. Other than that the spacewalk went as planned and was a great success. At the end of the spacewalk Chris Hadfield got a special message from mission control that included the singing of the Canadian national anthem by the late Roger Ducet. The anthem was a recording made famous by Mr. Ducet that he used to sing before Montreal Canadiens games.
The deployment of Canadarm2 is very important as it will be used to build and maintain the ISS. In fact, the Canadarm2 is essential to the next mission when it will be used to lift a payload out of the shuttle cargo bay, and dock it to the ISS.
After the Canadarm2 was installed the shuttle crew tested the power systems and its mobility. The arm was raised 90 degrees to a parked position ready for its next task tomorrow, which is to “step off” the pallet it was on and attach itself to the space station. As well the UHF antenna which had been installed at the beginning of the spacewalk was tested successfully.
Up next for the crew is the meeting of the shuttle and ISS crews for the first time tomorrow. The Canadarm2 will undergo static and unloaded dynamic tests and will reach out and grasp a power data grapple fixture on the Destiny Lab. Using the original Canadarm Scott Parazynski will attach the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to the station. The astronauts will also prepare for the second spacewalk scheduled for Tuesday.