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Gap fillers removed during spacewalk
Posted: Wed, Aug 3, 2005, 11:28 PM ET (0328 GMT)
STS-114: EVA #3 (NASA) Astronaut Steve Robinson easily removed two protruding gap fillers from the underside of the space shuttle Discovery during a spacewalk Wednesday morning. Attached to the end of the shuttle's robot arm and moved into position underneath the shuttle, Robinson was able to quickly pull out with his hands the two pieces of ceramic cloth that were protruding between tiles. Shuttle engineers had spotted the gap fillers during photography of the shuttle taken earlier in the mission, and managers decided to remove them, fearing that their presence during reentry could create turbulent air flow that would, in turn, create increased heating that would damage shuttle tiles downstream from the gap fillers. The procedure took place during the latter portion of the six-hour spacewalk, the third EVA of the STS-114 mission, after Robinson and Soichi Noguchi installed a storage box and materials science experiment on the exterior of the ISS. While this spacewalk is the last scheduled EVA of the mission, managers are contemplating adding a fourth EVA to repair a damaged thermal cockpit near the front windows on the crew cabin.
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