CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. —A pair of spacewalking astronauts, one of them a surgeon, hustled through antenna and cable work outside the International Space Station on Thursday and even whipped off an extra chore.
Atlantis crewmen Michael Foreman and Robert Satcher Jr. had a spare antenna installed in just two hours after venturing out on the first spacewalk of their mission. They also hooked up cables and a handrail, and greased some mechanisms, zooming two hours ahead at one point.
' 'You guys are rocking the house,'' astronaut Randolph Bresnik called from inside the linked shuttle-station complex.
As Satcher — the first orthopedic surgeon in space — lubricated snares for a robot arm, Bresnik observed ''it is a thing of beauty to see the good doctor at work.''
' 'We have photographic evidence of the highest recorded orthopedic surgery — ever,'' Bresnik said.
Foreman, meanwhile, had his hands full of wire ties needed to secure a slew of cables and other gear. He joked before the mission that he was known as the wire-tie king, and that he was going after the 100 mark. His crewmates inflated it just a bit.
' 'Welcome to the thousand wire-tie club, Mike,'' Bresnik said.
The hardest job was one they weren't even supposed to tackle Thursday. They jumped ahead and released a cargo platform, after struggling with a jammed spring-loaded device. They had to hammer and wiggle a bolt and brace to free the mechanism.
Foreman and Satcher fielded congratulations from their colleagues at the end of the 6 1/2-hour spacewalk. Shuttle commander Charles Hobaugh promised them something to eat and a chance to relax.
Two more spacewalks are planned — on Saturday and Monday — to perform more space station maintenance and get the orbiting outpost ready for the next shuttle visitors.
Atlantis will remain at the space station until Wednesday.