June 19, 2014 1:45 pm

Astronauts struggle with antenna during spacewalk

Astronauts will perform a spacewalk on Thursday, June 19, 2014 in order to make some repairs to the space station.

NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A pair of spacewalking astronauts ran into difficulty while installing a new antenna Thursday outside the International Space Station.

Russians Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemiev panted and sighed as they dealt with balky clamps and latches. Mission Control outside Moscow urged them to take frequent breaks.

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“Resting is most important,” Mission Control radioed in Russian.

Two hours into the spacewalk, the first-time spacewalkers had yet to secure the antenna, considered a major job. They hauled the antenna out with them, at the start of the spacewalk.

“We almost have it. Almost there,” one of the spacewalkers said as the work dragged on.

Two of the three locks clicked into place on the antenna. But the third would not work right, and the astronauts had to use a wire tie instead. Each spacewalker tugged on the tie to tighten it. With that finally complete, the two began making a series of connections on the device.

“Slowly but surely,” one of the spacewalkers said as he worked with the connectors.

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Also on their to-do list: moving a payload boom and switching out science experiments.

Six men live on the space station. The crew includes three Russians, two Americans and one German. The Americans are supposed to venture out on NASA-led spacewalks in August. Skvortsov and Artemiev also have another spacewalk scheduled for August.

NASA is airing the spacewalk live.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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