Astronauts Begin Installing Space Veranda

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 18, 2009 2:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – Two astronauts ventured out on the first spacewalk of shuttle Endeavour's space station visit today to help install a porch on Japan's expansive lab. Veteran spaceman David Wolf and rookie Timothy Kopra got straight to work as they floated out the hatch, 220 miles above the Earth. But their voices could hardly be understood at times because of loud static, caused by their helmet microphones.

Remaining inside the linked shuttle and international space station were 11 astronauts, a full house. The station population swelled to a record 13 when Endeavour arrived Friday for an 11-day stay. The two crews teamed up for today's big event, the attachment of a large veranda to Japan's $1 billion lab for outdoor experiments. It's the third and final section of the lab, the largest one at the space station, and it flew up aboard Endeavour.