Astronauts tackle backlog of chores at space station, marking 1st spacewalk for an Italian

  • Article by: MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
  • Updated: July 9, 2013 - 7:30 AM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Two spacewalking astronauts are tackling a backlog of outdoor work at the International Space Station.

American Christopher Cassidy and Italian Luca Parmitano ventured out Tuesday morning.

It's the first spacewalk for Italy, a major contributor to the orbiting lab.

The spacewalkers have a hodgepodge of maintenance chores: replacing failed communication equipment, removing a bad camera and collecting science experiments. They also will perform prep work for a new Russian lab due to arrive in December.

A second spacewalk, next Tuesday, will wrap up the job.

NASA says the tasks have been piling up over the past couple of years. Managers wanted to wait until the to-do list was long before committing to the time-consuming spacewalks.

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