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Spacewalking Astronauts Make Repairs to Space Station

By VOA News
08 June 2008

Two space shuttle astronauts are on a spacewalk to make external repairs on the International Space Station.

Michael Fossum and Ronald Garan are working Sunday to replace a nitrogen tank used to cool the station.

They also are inspecting a problematic joint attached to the station's solar power panels. They will collect samples of debris from the joint for analysis on Earth.

The astronauts are working about 340 kilometers above Earth. They are wearing high-tech protective suits and are attached to the space station by a robotic arm and, sometimes, foot restraints.

Their work Sunday is the third and final spacewalk to take place while the space shuttle Discovery is docked at the station.

The Discovery arrived at the station last week to install a new Japanese laboratory named Kibo.

On Saturday, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda spoke to Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide through a video link to congratulate the team's work.

Hoshide and the other astronauts tested the Kibo's robotic arm for the first time on Saturday.

Kibo is Japanese for "hope."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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