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Russians complete record spacewalk

Russian cosmonauts have rigged cable outside the International Space Station in a record-long spacewalk.

Fyodor Yurchikhin and Aleksandr Misurkin spent almost the entire spacewalk of over seven hours routing 120 feet of power and ethernet cable for a new lab that is due to arrive in a few months.

It had to be unreeled and meticulously secured to handrails and hooks. "Today we are the cable people," one of the men said in Russian as the work drew to a close.

The spacewalk lasted seven hours and 29 minutes, a full hour longer than originally planned, in order for the two to get a jump on work awaiting them in another outing next Thursday.

It was the longest spacewalk ever by a pair of Russians, surpassing the former record of seven hours and 16 minutes set at the old Mir space station in 1990.

Americans hold the overall record: a nearly nine-hour spacewalk in 2001.

To reach the cable work site, Mr Yurchikhin hitched a ride on the end of a 46-foot boom operated by Mr Misurkin.

When Mr Yurchikhin asked if he was positioned properly on the boom, Mr Misurkin assured him: "You look great. You look perfect."

"Thank you. I don't want to blush," the other astronaut replied. Mr Misurkin said: "It just looks like you're in space. Everything is black around you."

The Russian Space Agency plans to launch a new science lab by the end of the year. It is the last major piece due at the orbiting outpost, active since 1998, and will replace a 12-year-old Russian docking compartment that doubles as an air lock.


From Belfast Telegraph