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Friday, January 9, 1998 Published at 08:26 GMT



Sci/Tech

Cosmonauts fix Mir air leak
image: [ The hatch on a module has been leaking since November ]
The hatch on a module has been leaking since November

Two cosmonauts on board the Russian space station Mir spent three hours on a spacewalk, finding and fixing a leak which had let air escape from a hatch door.

The pair, Commander Anatoly Solovyov and Flight Engineer Pavel Vinogradov, completed the task in half the time it had been expected to take.

"All the tasks we placed before the crew have been carried out," said Vladimir Solovyov, the head of Mission Control, after the spacewalk.

They found that a bolt on the airlock of the Kvant II module had not been tightened properly after the last spacewalk in November.


[ image: After a spate of accidents, Mir has had a quiet few weeks]
After a spate of accidents, Mir has had a quiet few weeks
Mission Control then instructed the two to float into space, enabling them to remove American monitoring equipment on the outside of the ship which had been placed there to enable docking with the US Space Shuttle.

Nasa astronaut David Wolf filmed the repair mission from inside the station.

It is the fourth spacewalk Solovyov and Vinogradov have performed together. They have managed to restore more of the power lost when the station collided with an unmanned cargo craft.

Solovyov is the most experienced spacewalker in the history of space exploration, having spent more than 70 hours in space.






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