WASHINGTON (AFP) – The crew of the US space shuttle Endeavour wrapped up their fourth and final spacewalk Friday, a walkabout that surpassed the 1,000th hour of such trips to build the International Space Station.
The marathon seven hour, 24 minute spacewalk began at 7:39 am (0415 GMT) and mission specialists Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff finished at 7:39 am (1139 GMT), NASA said. Spacewalks typically last six and a half hours.
“At 5:02 am, Fincke and Chamitoff surpassed the 1,000th hour astronauts and cosmonauts have spent spacewalking in support of space station assembly and maintenance,” NASA said.
“The milestone occurred four hours and 47 minutes into today’s spacewalk, the 159th in support of station assembly and maintenance, totaling 1,002 hours, 37 minutes.”
The astronauts completed their mission to stow the boom on the station truss and work on some new installations to extend the space station’s robotic arm.
The spacewalk was the last by a US shuttle crew docked at the orbiting lab. A spacewalk is planned during the shuttle Atlantis’s mission in July but will be done by the space station crew.
Endeavour blasted off on its final mission, STS-134, on May 16 with six astronauts on board — five Americans and one Italian — and docked at the ISS on Wednesday.
The shuttle will remain at the space station until May 30, returning to the United States on June 1.
The 30-year US space shuttle program formally ends later this year with the flight of Atlantis set for July 8, leaving Russia’s space capsules as the sole option for world astronauts heading to and from the orbiting research lab.