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Potential medical problem delays spacewalk



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC with permission from the Houston Chronicle

Potential medical problem delays spacewalk

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A potential medical problem with one of the new
residents of the international space station has prompted NASA to
postpone an upcoming spacewalk. 

The spacewalk by American astronaut Kenneth Bowersox and Russian
cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin had been planned for Thursday, but was put off
Monday night until at least January. 

NASA spokesman Rob Navias said Tuesday that because of medical privacy,
he could not identify which spaceman was affected or what the concerns
entailed. 

He said the issue was under evaluation, but that it had "no mission
impact whatsoever." 

"There is no mission impact to anything else that this crew is doing on
orbit or to the objectives" of the expedition, Navias said. 

The concern came up during routine medical testing aboard the space
station. 

Spacewalking can be grueling work, and astronauts need to be in top form.
Nonetheless, the postponement was a rare move for NASA. 

Navias said the six-hour spacewalk involves additional work on the space
station's newly installed girder and can wait another month or more. NASA
plans to conduct the excursion before the crew's mission ends. 

"There was no rush to conduct this spacewalk and we decided to delay it,"
Navias said. 

The two men, along with American astronaut Donald Pettit, moved into the
orbiting outpost just two weeks ago. They're supposed to remain on board
until March. 

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