The U.S. and Russian crew of the Expedition 12 has completed an upgrade to the International Space Station's spacewalk preparation systems.
U.S. Commander Bill McArthur and Russian Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev also installed the Recharge Oxygen Orifice Bypass Assembly, National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials said.
The assembly will conserve station oxygen during spacewalk preparations when the space shuttle is docked to the complex. It allows the crew to breathe oxygen from the shuttle rather than use oxygen from station tanks, as they prepare for the spacewalk.
The crew must breathe pure oxygen for an extended period before beginning a spacewalk to prevent decompression sickness. The new system will be used during the next shuttle mission.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: Preparing for manned missions to Mars, engineer trains on Hawaii volcano