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DIY in space

09/08/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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The STS-114 crewmembers continue to conduct joint operations with the Expedition 11 crew and prepare for Wednesday's spacewalk, which includes the unprecedented task of repairing an area of the Shuttle's heat shield.

Mission managers decided Monday to remove two gap fillers that are protruding from areas between heat-shielding tiles on the Space Shuttle Discovery's underbelly. During the spacewalk, Mission Specialist Steve Robinson will venture under the Shuttle on the tip of the International Space Station's robotic arm, locate the protrusions and gently tug until they come out. If that does not work, Robinson will have tools to cut off the protrusions.

"This is going to be a very delicate task," Robinson said, "but as I say a simple one."

Crewmembers are reviewing the revised timeline and preparing equipment for the excursion. Other tasks for the spacewalk include the installation of an external stowage platform onto the Station.

Wednesday's orbital stroll will be the third for Robinson and Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi. They are slated to begin the spacewalk at 4:14 a.m. EDT Wednesday.

In other activities, all of the Shuttle and Station crewmembers participated in a news conference. Cargo transfers between the Station and Shuttle continue.

Spacewalk experts will provide details on the new repairs in a briefing slated to begin at 12:30 p.m.

Watch it live on NASA TV over at

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