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Astronauts perform upkeep work

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Two space station astronauts took care of a little outside maintenance Monday.

Russian flight engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin replaced a main valve on the international space station and prepared for the arrival of a new lab this year.

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‘‘To save the time, I’m embroidering,’’ one of the spacewalkers said in Russian, holding a clump of cord as he worked.

Besides the valve swap 250 miles up, the spacewalkers installed clamps and retrieved science experiments, completing most of their chores. The spacewalk ran a little over at 6½ hours. ‘‘Thank you for your work,’’ radioed Russian Mission Control outside Moscow.

It was the year’s third spacewalk. The four other space station residents monitored the action from inside.

Yurchikhin arrived at the space station just a few weeks ago. Misurkin has been on board since March.

The crew includes three Russians, two Americans, and one Italian. The Italian and one American will conduct a pair of spacewalks for NASA in July.

Begun in 1998, the space station still is one room short.

The Russian Space Agency plans to launch a research lab by year’s end to replace the Pirs air lock that has been in place since 2001.

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