Shuttle astronauts complete 6th-longest spacewalk

Two NASA astronauts from the space shuttle Endeavour completed the sixth-longest spacewalk in history on Sunday after needing extra time to finish maintenance work on the International Space Station.

NASA said Drew Feustel and Mike Fincke were outside the ISS for eight hours and seven minutes, more than 90 minutes over the planned 6 1/2 hours.

The spacewalk involved work on the station’s cooling system and lubricating elements of the solar array. During the lubrication work, a bolt and washer from a protective insulation cover were lost into space, the U.S. space agency said.

Finke also installed two radiator grapple bar stowage beams on the station, while Feustel conducted work on the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, installing a cover on one of the robot’s cameras and lubricating the snares that allow the robot to grab equipment.

Endeavour is six days into its 16-day final mission, which includes two more spacewalks.

After the shuttle’s return to Earth, scheduled for June 1, it is due to be moved to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Atlantis will fly the final shuttle mission in June, after which Russian Soyuz craft will be the only way for astronauts to fly to the International Space Station. Over the next four year, NASA will pay its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos, more than $1 billion for crew transfer services.

MOSCOW, May 22 (RIA Novosti)

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