NASA Space Walks

Beginning next week, NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station will be conducting a record number of space walks without the shuttle present. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports.

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The first of the three space walks in nine days will take place Wednesday morning. The space walks are all part of NASA's stepped up efforts to assemble the space station before the shuttle fleet is retired. Nearly all space walks, otherwise known as EVA's, are done with a shuttle present. ISS Spacewalk Flight Director Derek Hassman says it allows astronauts to master their space walks at NASA facilities on the ground.

"When you talk about a shuttle mission, typically in the week to two weeks before they launch they will get their last practice runs in the neutral buoyancy lab. Well if you look at Mike LA and Sunny, their last practice run in the NBL together for the EVA's we're about to conduct was in July 2006."

Hassman says in this case the astronauts have been studying and using graphic-modeling tools to prepare. After these space walks are completed, the two astronauts will hold records for most space walks. Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria will hold the record for men. Astronaut Sunita Williams will hold the record for women. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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