Another dramatic spacewalk took place some 220 miles above us this morning. No astronaut has ever before attempted an in-space repair job on the bottom of a shuttle. Discovery astronaut Steve Robinson was perched at the end of the shuttle’s 58-foot-long robotic arm, being controlled from inside by Iowa native Jim Kelly. (Photo above courtesy of NASA)
Robinson worked to remove two bits of ceramic filler cloth from the delicate black tiles on the orbiter’s belly. The astronauts were in constant communication as Kelly slowly moved Robinson into position under the shuttle. Both strips were removed easily and Robinson declared the “patient” cured. It was feared without their removal, a critical problem could’ve developed upon the fiery reentry. Kelly is scheduled to pilot Discovery home on Monday.