Next Shuttle flight delayed to next year; ISS crew begin spacewalk

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Commander Sergei Krikalev and flight engineer John Phillips began a planned six-hour spacewalk earlier today, their first in the four months both men have been on the station. This week Krikalev exceeded Sergei Avdeyev's record of 748 (non-consecutive) days in space.

Their tasks include retrieval and replacement of several experiments, photographing a materials science experiment, retrieving radiation sensors, installation of a television camera for the first arrival of Europe's new cargo vessel and relocation of a grapple fixture for a crane. This will make room for the next shuttle crew to deliver radiation shields.

However, that delivery is going to have to wait.

NASA delayed the next Shuttle flight until next year so their engineers have time to address the foam problem that occurred during the most recent flight. A rushed timetable for the previous launch has been criticised as a major contributing factor to the "same behavioral problems that contributed to the Columbia tragedy," an AP story stated.