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Atlantis astronaut on third spacewalk of ISS mission

world Updated: May 21, 2010 20:37 IST

AFP
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US astronauts took their final spacewalk at the International Space Station Friday to complete battery replacement work and various other tasks before heading home.

Garrett Reisman and Michael Good set out at 6:27 am (1027 GMT) for the Atlantis crew's third spacewalk in five days. Within 30 minutes, the pair had plugged a new ammonia jumper cable into the orbiting space station's huge framework.

They then tackled their next task -- installing two new batteries that store energy collected by the station's large solar panels.

Each battery weighs 375 pounds (170 kilograms) and measures about the size of a three-foot (one-meter) box. Good and another fellow astronaut installed swapped out another four batteries during another spacewalk on Wednesday. During the 13-day mission, Atlantis and its six-member crew will unload more than 12 tons of equipment, including the communications antenna, power storage batteries, and a radiator.

Atlantis will undock from the ISS for the very last time on Sunday, capping the shuttle's 25-year career during which it has logged some 115 million miles (185 million kilometers).

Only two more shuttle launches remain -- one in September for Discovery and the final blast off for Endeavour in November -- before the curtain falls on this era of human spaceflight.