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    ISS CREW COMPLETES SPACE WALK AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

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    MISSION CONTROL, FEBRUARY 27 (RIA NOVOSTI) - The ISS (International Space Station) crew completed its EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity) ahead of schedule, after a Russian cosmonaut's space suit overheated. This decision was made by Vladimir Soloviev, who controls the station's Russian segment, for safety's sake.

    US astronaut Michael Foale and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri opened the Pier docking module's hatches at 12.17 a.m. Moscow time, subsequently venturing into outer space. The ISS crew was to have left the docking module at 12.15 a.m. Moscow time in line with the entire EVA sequence.

    Foale and Kaleri were supposed to spend more than five-and-a-half hours on the station's outer surface. However, the crew returned and locked up the hatch at 4.13 a.m. Moscow time, after spending three hours outside the station. The decision to abort the mission was made, after Kaleri's suit began to overheat.

    According to preliminary reports, the space suit started overheating, after its cooling-system pipe became compressed.

    Meanwhile Soloviev ruled out any possible factory defects. People have already worn such suits in outer space; and everything was OK, he stressed.

    Kaleri's space suit, which was made in 2000, could be used for 1-2 more space walks, Soloviev added. Meanwhile the Orlan-M space suits, which were donned by Foale and Kaleri, are designed for 12 EVA operations.

    From now on, ISS crews are to wear new space suits, while leaving the station; those space suits are already being stored aboard the ISS, Soloviev went on to say. The station has two new space suits, which will be used for EVA purposes, he added.

    The ISS crew is feeling just fine after the space walk, space-suit expert Arnold Barer noted.

    The ISS crew, which came back ahead of schedule, nonetheless completed most projected operations, the mission-control center's spokesman Valery Lyndin said.

    In his words, mission commander Michael Foale of the United States and Russia's flight engineer Alexander Kaleri managed to install Mr. Rendo, a Russian-European dummy, on the Zvezda (Star) module's surface; that dummy will be used to calculate space-radiation doses.

    Moreover, Foale and Kaleri removed a panel, which will be used in a Japanese materials-study experiment.

    We have accomplished two-thirds of all preset objectives, Soloviev noted, after the crew returned to the station.

    Due to lack of time, the ISS crew didn't install laser-ray reflectors on the docking module's surface; nor did both men install equipment for studying engine-exhaust gas content. The aforesaid reflectors will be used to guide the new ESA (European Space Agency) space truck to the ISS.

    They are pinning high hopes on the ADV space truck, due to dock with the ISS in 2005, because that spacecraft will be flying additional resupply missions. Consequently, Russia, which keeps flying in ISS crews and consignments after the February 1, 2003 Columbia space-shuttle disaster, will scale down its commitments in this field.

    A new ISS crew is to lift off April 19, 2004.

    This is the first time an entire ISS crew worked in outer space.

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