SLUG: 2-268024 Shuttle / O'Niter (L) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:










INTRO: Spacewalks continue outside the U-S shuttle Discovery Tuesday following two successful outings by astronauts to outfit the international space station for permanent occupancy. V-O-A science correspondent David McAlary tells us the station got a new entrance Monday.

TEXT: Astronauts Bill McArthur and Leroy Chiao [CHOW] will float outside Discovery again Tuesday to finish setting up two new station structures, including another new docking port.

On Monday, Japanese crewmember Koichi Wakata [KO-EE-CHEE WAH-KAH-TAH] attached the port to the U-S "Unity" module with the Discovery's 15-meter crane. The alternate spacewalking team of Jeff Wisoff [WY-sawf] and Mike Lopez-Alegria [AL-uh-GREE-uh] connected it to power and data cables from the station.

The work got off to a slow start when their power tools would not loosen the latches holding the port down in its stowage location inside the shuttle's cargo compartment.

/// WISOFF ACT ///

I don't see any more movement, and I feel kind of a clunking in the mechanism. Let me look at the other latches.

/// END ACT ///

Eventually they freed the latches and bolts and were able to help guide the unit to its final position. Inside the shuttle, pilot Pam Melroy used a laptop computer to command latches and bolts to lock the doorway down in its new position. The port will serve as another docking entrance for future shuttle missions.

The spacewalking pair also prepared Unity's new exterior aluminum truss for installation of large solar power-generating panels. Mr. Wakata hoisted the truss in place with the crane on Saturday. It already holds radio antennas and gyroscopes to control the station's motion. The solar panels will be delivered on the next shuttle visit in late November.

Whatever difficulty astronauts Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria had in carrying out their work was mitigated by the view high above Africa. Mr. Lopez-Alegria got his first sight of the blue Earth below him and -- like other novice spacewalkers -- could not contain himself.


[LOPEZ-ALEGRIA:] Wow! The actual horizon is far better than the artificial horizon!

[WISOFF:] You're right over the middle of Libya.

[LOPEZ-ALEGRIA:] Look at that. I see Crete! Beautiful!

/// END ACT ///

Tuesday's spacewalk by crewmen McArthur and Chiao will be the third of four planned spacewalks this week to prepare the station for permanent habitation. A U-S astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts are to arrive for a four-month stay in just two-and-a-half weeks after launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan in a Russian Soyuz rocketship. They will be the first of many long duration crews to perform research aboard the space station. (SIGNED)