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Mir Spacewalk Postponed to Jan. 6

December 23, 1997

MOSCOW (AP) _ The crew of the Mir space station is so busy unloading supplies from a cargo ship that their next spacewalk has been postponed for a week, Russian space officials said today.

The spacewalk by cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov, needed to carry out repairs on the station’s exit hatch, was tentatively scheduled for Dec. 30 or 31. It is now set for Jan. 6.

Mission Control said the cosmonauts and U.S. astronaut David Wolf have their hands full unloading the Progress M-37 cargo ship, which docked with the Mir on Monday.

The Progress brought a new airtight seal for the exit hatch on the Mir’s Kvant-2 module, which failed to close properly after a Nov. 3 spacewalk by Solovyov and Vinogradov.

The docking chamber is sealed from the rest of the station, so its partial loss of pressure has not affected other sections of the Mir.

Solovyov and Vinogradov are to install the new rubber seal during their next trip into open space.

A spacewalk by Solovyov and Wolf, aimed at retrieving some NASA scientific equipment outside the station, was postponed to Jan. 12. It had originally been planned for Jan. 9.

The Mir has experienced a series of accidents this year, but its current crew has carried out successful repairs to restore power lost in a June collision with an unmanned cargo ship.

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