National

Astronauts rest up for second spacewalk

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. —Two of the astronauts aboard the orbiting shuttle-station complex rested up Saturday for a second spacewalk involving hefty storage tanks, while their colleagues unloaded much smaller supplies.

Spacemen Clayton Anderson and Rick Mastracchio will head back outside early today to replace an old ammonia tank at the International Space Station. They started the job Friday. In all, three spacewalks will be needed to complete the work.

The ammonia tanks — part of the space station's cooling system — are the size of refrigerators.

In an interview Saturday, Anderson said one day is enough time to rest between spacewalks. He said he often played baseball doubleheaders and basketball games on back-to-back days.

"We're in pretty good shape for old men," he said, "and I think we'll be ready to rock 'n' roll."

Anderson is 51, and Mastracchio is 50.

Both are members of space shuttle Discovery's visiting crew. They have another week at the space station before departing.

The moving operation was interrupted early Saturday when a smoke alarm went off. The seven shuttle astronauts rushed to their ship, and the six station residents gathered near their Russian Soyuz return capsules as per emergency procedures. When it was evident it had been a false alarm the crews went back to work.

  Comments