Spacewalkers repair station

The two crewmembers aboard the International Space Station successfully completed an extended 6-hour spacewalk early Friday to fix equipment and retrieve science experiments from the outside of the complex.

The spacewalk was marred only by the loss of a 12-inch metal foot restraint adapter that had been on the Russian telescoping work boom.

"We have a problem," a translator reported station commander Pavel Vinogradov saying to the Russian flight control team. "We have the foot restraint gone. It was in the closed position. We don't understand it. That's bad."

Vinogradov and crewmate Jeffrey Williams had finished their work on the Russian parts of the station and did not need the device for the remaining task, said NASA spokesman Rob Navias, reports Reuters.

Vinogradov collected a metal plate dubbed Kromka, which ISS engineers will use to study the effect of thruster firings on the space station structure.

He also photographed a navigation antenna on the aft end of the station’s Zvezda service module, which may be interfering with a nearby thruster, and repositioned a similar antenna to avoid signal disruption from an errant cable. The antennas will help a future European cargo ship make unmanned deliveries to the ISS.

The busy spacewalk is the first of two planned spacewalks for the Expedition 13 crew.

Williams is expected to don a U.S. spacesuit and work outside the ISS later this summer with European astronaut Thomas Reiter, who is slated to join the Expedition 13 crew when the space shuttle Discovery visits the station in July.

The spacewalk also marked the 65th spacewalk outside the ISS. It was the second career spacewalk for Williams and the sixth for Vinogradov, who still marveled at some of the excursion’s simple tasks despite his experience.

"This is something I've never done before, I'm wiping my hands in space," Vinogradov said as he brushed his spacesuit clean after one task. "I always say wipe your hands," informs Space.

O.Ch.