Spacewalk #3

Spacewalk #3 is today, which everyone has been saying for months will be the toughest.

The first two were "supposed" to be somewhat routine, but proved to be fairly difficult. So far, two unexpectedly hard days, both of which had problems and went long. Yesterday was one of the longest spacewalks on record (nearly eight hours; they plan on 6:30 and prefer not to exceed that for reasons of fatigue, health, and falling behind schedule from day to day).

First half of today is removing "Costar," the corrective lens originally installed in 1993 to fix Hubble's blurry vision. They now have it out without incident. Next step is to install a new science instrument, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, in its place. That's expected to be routine, but the way things have been going, who knows?

Second half of today is the nail-biter: repairing ACS, the Advanced Camera for Surveys. Grunsfeld will be trying to remove 32 tiny screws, then pull out four circuit boards, while working mostly blind.

They're now 1:45 into the spacewalk; it promises to be a very long day.
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