'It's In, Thank God': Astronauts Finish Risky Chore

Pair must retrieve explosive bolt from Soyuz craft
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2008 5:17 PM CDT
In this image from NASA TV, International Space Station Commander Sergei Volkov is seen during a space walk on the International Space Station, Thursday, July 10, 2008.    (AP Photo/NASA TV)
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(Newser) – Two Russian astronauts successfully removed an apparently defective bolt from their Soyuz spacecraft during a risky spacewalk today, the Houston Chronicle reports. The bolt itself packed the punch of an explosive firecracker, so the astronauts had to disconnect it, then stuff it into a steel case. "It's in, thank God," said one of the spacewalkers.

The past two Soyuz descents to Earth from the International Space Station have been dangerously fast and off course, and Moscow thinks the bolt is culprit. Today's mission should make for a safer trip home in October. The two Russians will have little time to rest—they've got another spacewalk, this one more routine, scheduled for tomorrow.