Two astronauts did maintenance and repair work outside the International Space Station during a six-hour-plus spacewalk on Tuesday.
NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and German astronaut Alexander Gerst started the spacewalk at 8:30 a.m. ET and finished up six hours and 13 minutes later. It was the first spacewalk for both Wiseman and Gerst, and it came one day before Wednesday's highly anticipated total lunar eclipse.
"Alex, it looks like we've almost got a full moon out here," Wiseman said as he stepped outside of the hatch for the first time. "It's beautiful." [See amazing pictures from the spacewalk]
The astronauts moved a failed pump module that had been removed from the space station's vital cooling system. The module had been stored temporarily on a different part of the station, after a different pair of astronauts performed two urgent spacewalks last December. Its new long-term home will provide protection and insulation in case a future crew decides to try to fix the module, NASA officials said.
The astronauts also replaced a light on a camera on the outside of the station's U.S.-built Destiny laboratory and installed a relay that feeds backup power to the rail system that helps move the outpost's robotic arm.
Wiseman will head out on another spacewalk next week to perform more maintenance on the station. NASA's Barry Wilmore will be partnered with Wiseman on the Oct. 15 excursion, which will mark Wilmore's first spacewalk.
These outings are part of a series of spacewalks that will ultimately prepare the station for the arrival of commercial crewed vehicles, according to Kenny Todd, space station integration operations manager.
The station currently plays host to an international crew of six. Wiseman, Gerst and Wilmore are joined by Russian cosmonauts Maxim Suraev, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova.