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2 American astronauts successfully repair ISS cooling system

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NEW YORK - NASA astronauts ventured out into space this Christmas Eve to make crucial repairs to the International Space Station.

Two American astronauts successfully completed their Christmas eve mission, floating out into space to fix the International Space Station’s cooling system.

Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins spent more than seven hours outside the station installing a new ammonia pump.

This was their second space walk in four days. The astronauts removed the faulty pump Saturday after one of the space station’s two external cooling lines shut down. The crew was not at risk, but the astronauts had to turn off all non-essential equipment, including experiments.

The work to install the new pump was scheduled for Monday, but delayed after Mastracchio accidentally got water in his suit at the end of Saturday's walk. He needed time to assemble a new suit.

The astronauts didn't encounter any major problems Tuesday, but ammonia flakes floated from the replacement pump onto their suits, requiring decontamination as they re-entered the station.  

The Christmas Eve mission was an international effort. A Japanese astronaut and Russian cosmonaut helped the two Americans complete the walk. 

This is the second Christmas Eve space walk in NASA history. The first was 14 years ago when astronauts repaired the Hubble telescope.



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