Astronauts inside the international space station on Tuesday used robotic arms to move a storage pallet holding equipment for three experiments from the belly of the docked space shuttle Endeavour to the outside of the orbiting outpost's Japanese-made lab.
Moving the 14-foot-long pallet took under two hours and involved a handoff between the space shuttle's 50-foot robotic arm and the space station's robotic arm. The experiment payloads include equipment for X-ray astronomy, a space environment monitor and a communications system.
The pallet is attached to the space station on a temporary basis. Once the experiments are removed and attached to a new platform outside the Japanese lab, the pallet will return with Endeavour on the trip back to Earth.
While the pallet was attached outside the Japanese lab, astronauts David Wolf and Christopher Cassidy prepared for the third spacewalk of the 16-day mission. During Wednesday's spacewalk, they will swap out batteries on a space station solar array, which is used to generate power at the outpost, and install communications equipment.
U.S. astronaut Tim Kopra, who is replacing Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata at the space station, spent the morning conducting an experiment measuring how depth perception changes in the microgravity of space. He wore special goggles and wrote and drew on a pad as part of the experiment.
The 13 space station and Endeavour crew members were awakened early Tuesday by Mission Control with the Rascal Flatts' song "Life is a Highway."
The astronauts also will use social networking sites later in the day, taking questions from Earth via Twitter and YouTube.