STS-134 spacewalkers Drew Feustel and Mike Fincke switched their suits to battery power at 1:43 a.m. EDT, signifying the start of today's planned six and a half hour excursion.
Before beginning today's spacewalk, Feustel and Fincke employed a new protocol to help eliminate the nitrogen from their blood to minimize the risk of its release as gas bubbles when pressure is reduced, a condition commonly called "the bends." Astronauts typically "camp out" overnight in the Quest airlock. The In-Suit Light Exercise protocol avoids that and saves oxygen. While in their suits, the spacewalkers raised their legs and arms for about 50 minutes, surrounded by a total of 50 minutes of rest. It went as planned and successfully prepared them for today's spacewalk.
Feustel and Fink are on their way to complete some setup work at the Zarya module to prepare to add a power and data grapple fixture to its exterior.
This is the 247th spacewalk conducted by U.S. astronauts, the 158th in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the sixth for Feustel and the eighth for Fincke.
Feustel is wearing a spacesuit marked with solid red stripes, and his helmet camera displays number 18. Fincke is wearing an unmarked white suit, and his helmet camera displays number 20. Feustel is lead for this spacewalk.
Commander Mark Kelly and Mission Specialist Greg Chamitoff will support the spacewalk activities, with Chamitoff choreographing the astronauts' activities and coordinating communications between the spacewalkers and Mission Control in Houston.