Friday, April 9, 2010

STS-131 sees first spacewalk completed

Astronaut Mastracchio exits the Quest Airlock. Photo credits: NASA.

Astronauts Mastrachio and Anderson spent 6.5 hours out on the ISS and shuttle exterior, preparing equipment for installation and retrieving an experiment from the equipment "porch" of the Japanese Kibo module. Two more spacewalks remain for this mission.

Down on Earth, arguing continues between those in favor of the White House NASA budget plan, and those against it. President Obama is scheduled to make a speech to a select group of politicians and NASA administrators on April 15th down in Florida. Some people have speculated he will make a statement that his plan is to get us to Mars, not the Moon. Others complain that his plan throws away American leadership in the space program and leaves us without a viable human spaceflight agenda.

There have been some rumors that a modified plan is possible for Congress to approve, which will keep most of the White House plan, but will extend shuttle flights to the ISS beyond 2011 and build a "shuttle C" heavy lift vehicle. Where the money will come for such a plan is not yet identified...

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