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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 13:39 GMT
Space station crew set for walk
Salizhan Sharipov, Nasa/JPL
Salizhan Sharipov will join Chiao on the spacewalk
The two astronauts currently living on the International Space Station (ISS) are preparing for the first spacewalk of their mission, officials have said.

Leroy Chiao and Salizhan Sharipov plan to exit the ISS on 26 January for a five-and-a-half-hour walk to install new hardware on the station's exterior.

They will attach a German-built robotic experiment, life science study hardware and other science instruments.

The astronauts will also inspect ISS exhaust vents to check for blockages.

Ground controllers are to keep an eye on the performance of the space station's stabilisers in case the added strain from the spacewalk puts too great a load on them.

During a space walk in August 2004, the previous ISS crew caused three US gyros to stop on the space station, apparently because they were working too hard. This gyro fault caused the ISS to lose its orientation for twenty minutes.

Both Sharipov and US mission commander Chiao will wear Russian Orlan spacesuits marked by a red stripe during the spacewalk.

In December, an unmanned cargo ship was sent to the space station carrying food for Chiao and Sharipov, because their supplies had started to run dangerously low.

An independent team has been looking into how the orbiting facility's food inventory ended up being tracked so poorly and how it can be improved in the future.

Watch the capsule dock with the space station

Vital food reaches space station
26 Dec 04 |  Science/Nature
Cargo ship reaches space station
31 Jan 04 |  Science/Nature
Space station crew back on Earth
28 Oct 03 |  Science/Nature

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