February 24, 2004

Spacewalk to Leave Space Station Empty

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The two-man crew of the international space station go outside the craft at the same time this week, despite earlier concerns that the exercise was 'a risk not worth taking,' The Washington Post reported on Monday.

The Post cited NASA documents obtained by the newspaper.

Ground controllers are to fly the empty space station, while British-born NASA astronaut Michael Foale and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri conduct the spacewalk, leaving no one inside to monitor systems directly or assist in a crisis, the newspaper said.

According to the Post, the Russians have made about 50 such spacewalks, but this would mark the first for the U.S.-led space station.

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