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Posted: Saturday, 21 December 2013 1:35PM

NASA Astronauts End Spacewalk Early After Five Hours



Image Credit: NASA TV(NEW YORK) --  Two American astronauts conducted an urgent repair outside the International Space Station Saturday during a spacewalk that lasted five hours and 28 minutes.

The astronauts ran about an hour and a half ahead of what NASA expected to be their timeline.

Rich Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins, Expedition 38 Flight Engineers, began at 7:01 am EST Saturday morning to replace a degraded ammonia pump module associated with one of the station's two cooling loops that keeps internal and external equipment cool, NASA said.

Mastracchio, the lead spacewalker, had conducted six previous spacewalks. Hopkins made his first spacewalk.

NASA's website offered the public a live video feed showing the astronauts and Mission Control.

During the repairs, the astronauts communicated with Mission Control Houston about the procedure. The spacewalk ended after five hours, 28 minutes and 11 seconds, shorter than the 6.5-hour expected spacewalk, because Mastracchio complained about chilly temperatures in his space suit.

NASA said Saturday's spacewalk is the 175th in support of space station assembly and maintenance.

The work of the two astronauts on Saturday is part of a series of spacewalks to replace the ammonia pump module. The first spacewalk allowed the astronauts to prepare it for removal, to be replaced during a spacewalk on Monday.

NASA says a third spacewalk would occur on Christmas Day if necessary to finalize the installation of the replacement pump module. It would be the first Christmas spacewalk for NASA.

The two astronauts received guidance on the spacewalk procedures from NASA astronauts Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell-Dyson, who replaced the ammonia pump at this same location during three spacewalks in August 2010, NASA said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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