Endeavour astronauts begin first spacewalk

Other News Materials 18 November 2008 23:27 (UTC +04:00)

Two NASA astronauts from the space shuttle Endeavour began a spacewalk on Tuesday to replace a nitrogen tank on the International Space Station and begin repair of a joint on a key solar panel, dpa reported.

Heide Stefanyshyn-Pieper und Steve Bowen began the planned six- and-a-half hour walk at 1809 GMT. The nitrogen tank will be installed with help for the station's robotic arm and will include the replacement of a device that moves the coolant through the station.

The astronauts will also begin inspecting, cleaning and lubricating the solar panel joint, which has been defective for more than a year. Most of the mission's four spacewalks will be devoted to getting the joint in order. On Tuesday's walk, astronauts will also remove thermal covers to inspect the Japanese Kibo module.

Endeavour arrived at the station on Sunday on its 15-day "home improvement" mission.