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Astronauts venture to far end of station on fourth spacewalk

NASA takes it slow and steady as team installs batteries.

Astronaut Christopher Cassidy is seen through the helmet-cam of Tom Marshburn on July 24, 2009 during the Endeavour crew's fourth space walk.


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At Mission Control’s request, a pair of spacewalking astronauts took it slow and easy heading out to the far end of the international space station Friday, then tackled a series of critical battery changes.

Christopher Cassidy and Thomas Marshburn ventured out as the shuttle-station complex soared 220 miles above Kazakhstan. By the time they had circled the planet, 1-1/2 hours later, they had their first fresh battery installed.

“Have fun storming the castle, guys,” astronaut David Wolf called out from inside.

The last time Christopher Cassidy went out, two days earlier, he was so enthusiastic and moved so fast that the air-cleansing canister in his suit could not keep up. That resulted in rising carbon dioxide levels that forced an early end to the spacewalk.

“He’s a Navy SEAL, he’s in great shape, and so we really needed to tell him, ’Hey, we know you can do this really well and really fast ... just slow down a little and take your time,’ “ explained flight director Holly Ridings.

Cassidy and Marshburn took the advice to heart. “Don’t work too hard, Tom, just take your time,” Cassidy told his partner.

Despite Cassidy’s effort to stay relaxed, however, his metabolic rate was a little high at one point and Mission Control gave some of the early battery tasks to Marshburn. That gave Cassidy, a 39-year-old Navy commander, a bit of a break.


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