Two new arrivals at the International Space Station went spacewalking Thursday less than a week after moving in.
NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold quickly set about installing new wireless antennas, replacing a failed camera and removing jumper hoses from a leaky radiator.
Mission Control said the spacewalkers would complete the chores despite a late start due to spacesuit trouble. Feustel's suit failed three leak checks after he put it on, but passed on the fourth try. That put the astronauts more than an hour late in getting outside.
"You guys are working harder up there today than in the gym," Mission Control said even before the spacewalk had begun.
Feustel and Arnold rocketed away from Kazakhstan last Wednesday and arrived at the 250-mile-high outpost two days later. They will remain on board until August. Shuttle astronauts often went spacewalking a few days after reaching orbit, given their short flights, but it's less common for station residents who spend five to six months aloft.
A space station manager, NASA's Kenny Todd, said earlier this week that both Feustel and Arnold were experienced spacewalkers from the old space shuttle days and were used to a quick transition in orbit. But Todd cautioned there's nothing routine about spacewalking and is probably the most dangerous undertaking by orbiting astronauts.
This was Feustel's seventh spacewalk and Arnold's third.
"Welcome to the vacuum of space ... welcome back," said Mission Control.
The intense pace continues next week. SpaceX plans to launch a load of supplies to the station crew Monday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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