(Recasts with end of spacewalk)
By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. May 12 Two U.S. astronauts
overcame an early equipment glitch to complete an abbreviated
spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Friday,
accomplishing all the major tasks initially planned for a longer
excursion in four hours, NASA said.
Station commander Peggy Whitson and rookie flier Jack
Fischer began what was expected to be a 6-1/2-hour spacewalk
more than an hour late, after a cable supplying power and
cooling water to Fischer's spacesuit developed a leak.
The spacewalk was the 200th outing in support of station
assembly and maintenance since construction of the $100 billion
laboratory, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth,
began in 1998.
Fischer ended up sharing Whitson's spacesuit servicing
system, which caused both to burn through their spacesuits'
battery power faster than usual. That prompted the U.S. space
agency to shorten the outing and assign the astronauts just one
The pair breezed through their first priority, replacing a
faulty, 200-pound (90 kg) electronics box that routes commands
and data to experiments. With time to spare, they then tackled
chores slated for the original spacewalk, including installing a
cable to troubleshoot a cooling system problem with the
station's $2 billion dark matter detector, mission commentator
Rob Navias said.
They also attached a debris shield onto an exposed docking
port that is being prepared for commercial space taxis under
development by Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, and
It was Fischer's first spacewalk, and the ninth for Whitson,
who last month broke the record for cumulative time in orbit by
a U.S. astronaut.
"All of the major work has been accomplished," Navias said.
"It's been an highly successful spacewalk in spite of a somewhat
(Editing by Letitia Stein and Tom Brown)