Nation

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.

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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.

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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.

Associated Press

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