Delayed spacewalk ends successfully

June 5, 2009
This NASA image shows a close-up of astronaut John Grunsfeld performing a spacewalk to work on the Hubble Space Telescope.

(AP) -- Two international space station crew members wrapped up a successful spacewalk Friday, the first since the size of the station's crew expanded from three to six last month.

The effort, which prepared the station for the addition of a new Russian module, started more than a half-hour late after sensors registered elevated carbon dioxide readings in the Orlon-MK suits worn by both space walkers.

High concentrations of the gas can cause dizziness, nausea and other problems, but both crew members said they felt fine and a spokesman for the Russian space agency said the problem resolved itself.

Commander Gennady Padalka, a veteran Russian , and Flight Engineer Mike Barratt, a U.S. astronaut on his first space mission, installed a pair of antennae for automated rendezvous equipment during the 4-hour, 54-minute spacewalk.

They also hooked up electrical connectors for the antennae, and took photos of a manually operated crane used during Russian spacewalks.

The modifications were intended to prepare the station for the arrival of the Russian Mini Research Module-2, or MRM2, later this year. The module will serve as an additional docking port for Russian vehicles.

Padalka is a veteran of the Soviet-built Mir space station, and Friday's spacewalk was his seventh.

Both space walkers wore new Russian Orlan-MK suits, with advanced telemetry equipment. The computer in the suit's backpack processes data from the spacesuit's various systems and warns of malfunctions.

In an emergency, the computer flashes a contingency plan on an LCD screen on the right chest part of the .

The space station's permanent crew expanded from three to six in May, with the launch of three crew members from Russia's in Kazakhstan.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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