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Astronauts Complete their Second Space Walk

The space walk is one of three that astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery are conducting during their 13-day mission to the station. The job requires astronauts Steven Swanson and Joseph Acaba to float outside the station for nearly seven hours.

Meantime, astronauts inside the station are working to replace a system designed to recycle urine into water for use aboard the station. All the improvements will prepare for the transition from three to six astronauts living on the station later this year.

Japanese Koichi Wakata arrived at the station aboard Discovery, as part of the mission known as STS-119, and will spend the next few months in orbit. In an interview with VOA, Wakata said there is a lot of information to absorb after arriving at the station.

"We have been very busy in the assembly task of the STS-119. It is like drinking water from a fire hose. I am still learning a lot but I am enjoying every moment," Wakata said.

Wakata replaces Sandy Magnus who has spent the past four months in space. Magnus told VOA that living in orbit has given her newfound appreciation for the Earth.

"It looks very fragile from here and it is very easy to take it for granted when we live on it, because it seems so big and massive," Magnus said. "But it is not, it is very small and very fragile. That is something that really hits home when you see it out the window from up here."

Magnus and the crew of Discovery will return to Earth next week after wrapping up their work on the space station.