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Archive for Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Astronauts anchor lab to space station

June 4, 2008

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— A team of astronauts working inside and out anchored a giant billion-dollar Japanese lab to the international space station Tuesday, making it the biggest room there.

The long-awaited moment of contact came as two of the crew were winding up a spacewalk.

Spacewalkers Michael Fossum and Ronald Garan Jr. took care of all the preliminaries, removing covers and disconnecting cables on the bus-size lab, named Kibo, Japanese for hope. They left it to their colleagues inside to do the heavy lifting, by way of the space station's robot arm.

The honor of operating the arm for the installation fell to Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who accompanied Kibo to orbit aboard space shuttle Discovery.

Kibo - a behemoth stretching 37 feet and weighing more than 32,000 pounds - became the largest lab at the space station by nine feet.

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