WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 — Two U.S. astronauts on Wednesday ventured outside the International Space Station for the first spacewalk of their careers to service and upgrade the orbital laboratory.
Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren from the U.S. space agency NASA completed "most of the major tasks" planned for the spacewalk at 3: 19 p.m. EDT (1919 GMT), NASA said.
The mission lasted seven hours and 16 minutes, nearly 50 minutes longer than expected, but nowhere near the record of eight hours and 56 minutes set in 2001.
The duo spent their first two hours and 30 minutes outside installing a thermal cover on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, which is a state-of-the-art particle physics detector that has been attached to the station since 2011.
Then, they applied grease to a number of components in one of the latching ends of the 57.7-foot (15.6-meter) Canadarm2 robotic arm. The work took somewhat longer than anticipated and flight controllers chose to forego the lubrication of one component, NASA said.
The two also began work to route power cables for the future installation of a docking port to the station that will be used for the arrival of private U.S. crewed spacecraft.
A lower priority task to reinstall a valve on the station will be assigned to crew members during a future spacewalk.
This is the 32nd U.S. spacewalk to service the station, but it is the first for both Kelly, who is in the middle of a year-long mission aboard the station, and flight engineer Lindgren.
Kelly is set to become the U.S. astronaut who has lived in space the longest during a single U.S. spaceflight with his 216 days on the station on Thursday.
Another spacewalk is scheduled for the pair on Nov. 6. (PNA/Xinhua)