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Atlantis crew completes first STS-132 spacewalk

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Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman (left) and Stephen Bowen begin the first STS-132 spacewalk. Photo: NASA TV.

WASHINGTON (AFP): US astronauts have completed the first of three planned spacewalks from the shuttle Atlantis a day after the craft docked with the International Space Station.

Astronauts Garrett Reisman and Stephen Bowen finished the seven-hour, 25-minute spacewalk at 3:19 pm (local time) after installing a second space-to-ground communications antenna and a spare parts platform on Dexter, the two-armed robotic device on the orbiting ISS.

It was the 237th spacewalk by US astronauts, the second for Reisman and the fourth for Bowen, NASA said on Monday.

The pair meanwhile loosened battery bolts on the port-6 backbone segment of the station in preparation for the other spacewalks.

Atlantis brought to the station six new 170-kg batteries to be installed during the second and third spacewalks.

The shuttle and its crew of six successfully docked with the orbiting space lab on Sunday about 350 km above the South Pacific.

The mission is the 32nd and final scheduled voyage for Atlantis, which first launched in 1985 and has logged some 115 million miles in its career.

Only two more shuttle launches remain -- one in September for Discovery and the final blast off for Endeavour in November -- before the curtain falls on this era of human spaceflight.

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