US astronauts begin spacewalk for station repairs today
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Two United States astronauts on Saturday stepped outside the International Space Station for the first of three spacewalks to fix a broken equipment cooling system, Nasa said.
"Today's spacewalk has officially begun," said a Nasa commentator as the space agency broadcast live images of Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata leading the operation from inside the space station.
The spacewalk began at 7.01 am (1201 GMT), a few minutes earlier than planned. It is expected to last six and a half hours.
Veteran spacewalker Rick Mastracchio is making his seventh career spacewalk, accompanied by rookie Mike Hopkins, who is making his first venture outside the global research lab.