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Astronauts install gadgets on second spacewalk


Mission Specialist Randy Bresnik (far left) and the STS-129 and Expedition 21 crews celebrate the birth of his daughter. Image Credit: NASA TV

WASHINGTON (AFP/PTI): Shuttle Atlantis astronauts began the second of their mission's three spacewalks to maintain and install more high-tech gadgets on the International Space Station.

The sortie was delayed on Saturday by over an hour after false depressurisation alarms earlier rang through the orbiting outpost and jolted mission specialists Mike Foreman and Randy Bresnik awake after just two hours of sleep, rattling preparations.

Bresnik, venturing out into space for the first time, was most likely already restless as he awaited the birth of his daughter back on earth.

His wife Rebbeca Burgin was due to give birth to the couple's second child on Friday. If the baby is born during the Atlantis mission, Bresnik would be only the second person to become a father in space.

But he was forced to set aside family concerns and concentrate on the task at hand, as the second exterior work effort of the shuttle's 11-day mission got underway more than an hour late, at 2001 IST. It was shortened by 30 minutes due to the false alarms and set to last six hours.

Despite the shortened spacewalk, they were "well ahead" of schedule and planned to get all of their tasks completed, NASA said.

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