Astronauts conduct rare Christmas Eve spacewalk

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It's been a long time since Apollo 11 and people forget how dangerous this stuff can be. I think most of us forget that we have humans living and working in space...

But this is cool:

Astronauts complete rare spacewalk - Associated Press - POLITICO.com




Space station astronauts repaired a crippled cooling system during a rare Christmas Eve spacewalk Tuesday, braving a “mini blizzard” of noxious ammonia as they popped in a new pump.

It was the second spacewalk in four days for U.S. astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins, and only the second Christmas Eve spacewalk ever.

NASA ordered up the spacewalks to revive a critical cooling loop at the International Space Station. All nonessential equipment had to be turned off when the line conked out Dec. 11, and many science experiments halted...

...“Merry Christmas to everybody,” replied Hopkins. “It took a couple weeks to get her done, but we got it.”...

“Mike Hopkins taking a special sleigh ride on this Christmas Eve,” Mission Control commentator Rob Navias said as the space station soared over the Pacific...

...“Wow,” Hopkins sighed after the fourth and final fluid line was hooked to the new pump. The electrical hookups went more smoothly, and six hours into the spacewalk, Hopkins finally called down, “Houston, you’ve got yourself a new pump module.”
Christmas references filled the radio waves as the action unfolded 260 miles above the planet.
“It’s like Christmas morning opening up a little present here,” Mastracchio said as he checked his toolkit. Later, as he worked to remove the spare pump from its storage shelf, he commented: “Now it really feels like I’m unwrapping a present.”

Mission Control in Houston was in a festive mood, despite the gravity of the situation. Tabletop Christmas trees, Santa dolls and red Santa caps decorated the desks.

NASA’s only previous Christmas Eve spacewalk occurred in 1999 during a Hubble Space Telescope repair mission.

But NASA’s most memorable Christmas Eve was back on Dec. 24, 1968. Apollo 8 astronauts read from Genesis, the first book of the Bible, as they orbited the moon on mankind’s first lunar flight.

Cool. Simply cool. And I am glad the astonauts completely their mission safely.

Merry Christmas, Space Station!!!
 

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