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Platform Is Added to Space Station

June 11, 2002|From Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Astronauts clamped a $254-million work platform to the International Space Station on Monday, providing a movable bench for the orbiting outpost's robot arm.

Working from inside the space station, two astronauts used the 58-foot robot arm to put the platform in place on top of a rail car. A pair of spacewalkers will go back out today to bolt it down and wire it up.

The arm and its new mobile base were contributed by Canada.

"Canada is grateful and proud," Mission Control radioed once the job was accomplished.

The rail car and its 44-foot stretch of track were delivered to the space station during the last shuttle visit, in April. The car-and-track combination will be used to extend the reach of the robot arm during construction of the space station.

Space shuttle Endeavour astronauts Franklin Chang-Diaz and Philippe Perrin were to conduct today's spacewalk. They planned to make one more spacewalk Thursday to replace a joint in the robot arm that kept seizing up.

Perrin, a French astronaut, asked Mission Control for help in alleviating the foot pain he experienced during Sunday's spacewalk. He said the problem is with the metal strips in the heels of his boots.

Mission Control advised Perrin to wrap his sore heels to relieve the pressure.

Endeavour delivered a new three-member crew to the space station and is bringing home the three men who lived there for the last six months.

On Monday afternoon, all 10 space travelers gathered in the space station laboratory for a change-of-command ceremony. But half a minute into the affair, a smoke alarm went off in one of the Russian sections of the space station.

It turned out to be a false alarm, and the crew pulled off the ceremony five hours later without incident.

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