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2 COSMONAUTS MAKE REPAIRS TO MIR DURING SPACEWALK

Two Mir cosmonauts headed out on a six-hour spacewalk today to repair a damaged solar panel. The third crew member, an American, monitored their progress from inside.

The first task for Talgat Musabayev and Nikolai Budarin was to open a lock on the Mir's exit hatch. They failed March 3 to open the hatch, breaking three wrenches in the process and canceling that spacewalk.

Today, using a new set of wrenches, they pried the lock open, then set out to install a splint on the damaged solar panel, which could come loose if not strengthened.

In other spacewalks this month, they hope to repair one of the orientation engines, which keeps the station properly aligned with the sun.

After a long series of accidents and breakdowns, the Mir has been largely trouble-free in recent months.

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