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Atlantis astronauts complete 1st spacewalk


Spacewalkers Mike Foreman and Robert Satcher work on the exterior of the International Space Station during the first spacewalk of the STS-129 mission. Image Credit: NASA TV

CAPE CANAVERAL (AP/PTI): A pair of spacewalking astronauts, one of them a surgeon, hustled through antenna and cable work outside the International Space Station and even managed to do an extra chore.

Atlantis crewmen Michael Foreman and Dr. Robert Satcher Jr had a spare antenna installed in just two hours after venturing out on the first spacewalk of their mission. They also hooked up cables and a handrail, and greased some mechanisms, zooming two hours ahead at one point.

"You guys are rocking the house," astronaut Randolph Bresnik called from inside the linked shuttle-station complex.

As Satcher -- the first orthopaedic surgeon in space -- lubricated snares for a robot arm, Bresnik observed "it is a thing of beauty to see the good doctor at work."

"We have photographic evidence of the highest recorded orthopaedic surgery _ ever," Bresnik said.

Foreman, meanwhile, had his hands full of wire ties needed to secure a slew of cables and other gear. He joked before the mission that he was known as the wire-tie king, and that he was going after the 100 mark. His crewmates inflated it just a bit.

"Welcome to the thousand wire-tie club, Mike," Bresnik said.

Foreman, a veteran spacewalker, couldn't resist some humour of his own while floating 355 kilometres above the planet.

"Hard to believe, Bobby, I think your feet look bigger from space," Foreman teased.

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