American astronaut, Steve Robinson, is to step into history. He will carry out a first ever spacewalk to the shuttle Discovery’s fragile belly to perform essential repairs. The craft is currently docked at the International Space Station, but NASA is worried about possible launch damage. Dr Robinson played down the risks. “Like all kinds of repairs, it is essentially very simple but it has to be done very carefully because as we all know it is fragile and a crew member out there is a pretty large mass,” he said during a live press conference from the ISS. NASA wants Dr Robinson to remove two strips of ceramic cloth sticking out between the heat-resistant tiles that coat Discovery’s underside. It is feared they could cause problems when Discovery re-enters earth’s atmosphere next week. NASA does not want to lose another shuttle and crew to heat damage as it did with Columbia in 2003.
Astronaut prepares for historic spacewalk