Approaching Debris Doesn't Stop Spacewalk
Space junk may come within 2 miles of station, shuttle
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 3, 2009 6:25 PM CDT
NASA astronaut Danny Olivas is seen during Tuesday's spacewalk.   (NASA)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Two astronauts stepped out on a spacewalk to install a new tank of space-station coolant today as a large piece of orbiting junk headed their way. The old rocket part was expected to pass early tomorrow within 2 miles of the shuttle-station complex, considered a safe distance by NASA specialists. Managers decided there was no need to move the linked spacecraft out of the way and proceeded with the spacewalk as planned.

Danny Olivas and Christer Fuglesang were nearly an hour late heading out the hatch because of minor spacesuit problems. It was the second spacewalk in three days for the Discovery and space station crews. Their main job 220 miles up was to collect the new fully loaded ammonia tank from Discovery and hook it up to the space station. The old tank, launched 7 years ago, was removed during Tuesday's spacewalk.