Nasa astronauts repair pump in rare spacewalk

The spacewalk was broadcast live by Nasa

Related Stories

Two US astronauts have successfully repaired a critical cooling system pump at the International Space Station, the US space agency Nasa says.

Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins completed a spacewalk of 7.5 hours to replace the faulty ammonia pump.

The pump broke down two weeks ago, leaving the US side of the station without half its cooling system.

All non-essential equipment had to be switched off and many scientific experiments were halted.

Nasa now says all the systems should be back up and running by the weekend.

"It's the best Christmas ever," Mission Control radioed the astronauts.

In reply, Mr Hopkins said: "Merry Christmas to everybody. It took a couple (of) weeks to get her done, but we got it."

It was the two astronauts' second spacewalk in three days to replace the pump, which is about the size of a refrigerator.

Nasa has said that the station's six-member crew was never in danger.

It was only the second Christmas Eve spacewalk in the history of the space programme. The only previous spacewalk on 24 December was in 1999 during a Hubble Space Telescope repair mission.

Tuesday's repair mission came on the 45th anniversary of the now iconic Earthrise photograph, taken by the crew of Apollo 8 as they orbited the Moon in 1968.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Science & Environment stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Cerro RicoSatanic mines

    Devil worship in the tunnels of the man-eating mountain


  • Nefertiti MenoeWar of words

    The woman who sparked a row over 'speaking white'


  • Oil pumpPump change

    What would ending the US oil export ban do to petrol prices?


  • Brazilian Scene, Ceara, in 1893Sir Snapshot

    19th Century Brazil seen through the eyes of an Englishman


BBC Future

(Getty Images)

Why do we doodle?

Surprising origins of our drawing instinct Read more...

Programmes

  • European Union's anti-terrorism chief Gilles de KerchoveHARDtalk Watch

    Anti-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove on the threat from returning Islamic State fighters

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.