Astronauts take 3rd spacewalk for laying cable

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CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. (AP) - A pair of astronauts ventured out on the third spacewalk of their mission Wednesday to boost power on the Russian side of the International Space Station.

Spacewalker Mike Fincke promised Russian flight controllers that he’d tackle the job of laying power cables and adding a robot arm attachment with “much enthusiasm.” He relayed the message in Russian, then asked his shuttle crewmate Gregory Chamitoff in English: “OK, Greg, what’s next?”

“Russian or English?” Chamitoff joked.

“How about Italian?” Fincke replied.

All three countries are represented aboard the orbiting shuttle-station complex right now: six Americans, two Russians and one Italian.

Fincke and Andrew Feustel quickly jumped into their 220-mile-high work, coming just three days after they conducted the second spacewalk of space shuttle Endeavour’s final voyage.

“Wow, it’s great to be back outside. We have the most beautiful planet in the universe,” Fincke radioed as he floated out.

“Nice view, isn’t it?” agreed Feustel.

The spacewalkers hoped to squeeze in a task that fell by the wayside during spacewalk No. 1 last Friday. That excursion was cut short because of a carbon dioxide sensor malfunction in an astronaut’s spacesuit.

Before stepping out in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Feustel and Fincke tried a new spacewalk preparation method of light exercise.

This is NASA’s next-to-last space shuttle flight. One more spacewalk is planned, then Endeavour will undock from the space station and head home. Landing is set for June 1.

NASA will close out the 30-year shuttle program in July with one last flight by Atlantis.

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Online:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

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