December 20th, 2013
10:14 AM ET

Astronauts Set to Make Emergency Spacewalks at ISS

Tomorrow, astronauts make the first of three emergency spacewalks to fix a crucial cooling system at the International Space Station.

Two pumps are used to cool the station. The failure of either is considered critical. The first spacewalk attempting to repair the system will be Saturday and the last one will happen on Christmas morning.

According to NASA, a similar incident back in 2010 has given them confidence this time.

“Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins will spend about twenty hours in space, removing the 780-pound failed cooling pump, and replacing it with a spare. Much of the time, Mastracchio will be dangling from the end of the station's robotic arm,” CNN’s John Zarrella reports.

But the risky fix comes at a tense time as the last astronaut to attempt a spacewalk nearly lost his life. NASA still has not determined what went wrong, though they don’t expect the problems from that attempt to repeat.

Astronaut Mike Massimino weighed in on "New Day" Friday and described the experience as "the most incredible thing a person can do.'


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