Astronauts prepare for possible spacewalk

Aug. 16, 2007 at 2:21 PM
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HOUSTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Astronauts at the International Space Station were preparing Thursday for a possible spacewalk to repair damage on space shuttle Endeavour’s thermal shield.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration controllers in Houston earlier postponed a planned Friday spacewalk to Saturday to provide more time to determine whether that spacewalk will be devoted to repairing heat shield tiles damaged during Endeavour's launch or to station maintenance tasks.

However, NASA said space station and shuttle crew members were getting ready to do the repair work, should managers determine it is necessary.

Astronauts Barbara Morgan, a former teacher, and Alvin Drew participated in a TV event Thursday morning with students at the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in Alexandria, Va. Morgan was first selected by NASA in 1985 as backup to Teacher in Space Christa McAuliffe, who died in the 1986 Challenger explosion.

Before enjoying some scheduled free time Thursday afternoon, the STS-118 and Expedition 15 crews continued unloading cargo from the shuttle and replacing it with items, including science experiments, that are to be returned to Earth.

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