Astronauts Make Rare Christmas Eve Spacewalk

Dec 24, 2013

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Two space station astronauts have floated outside on Christmas Eve in hopes of wrapping up urgent cooling system repairs.

On Sunday, Dec. 22, NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins tweeted this photo of Saturday's spacewalk, saying, "Wow... can't believe that is me yesterday. Wish I could find the words to describe the experience, truly amazing."
Credit NASA

It's only the second Christmas Eve spacewalk in NASA history. The first was 14 years ago. And it's the second spacewalk in four days for U.S. astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins.

Mastracchio and Hopkins removed a faulty ammonia pump at the International Space Station during Saturday's outing. On Tuesday, they'll work to install a new pump 260 miles above the planet.

The external cooling line — one of two — shut down Dec. 11. The six-man crew had to turn off all nonessential equipment, including experiments.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.