Astronaut, cosmonaut take spacewalk to move crane, install antenna

Monday, January 14th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ An American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut ventured out on a spacewalk Monday to move a construction crane and install a radio antenna on the international space station.

It was the first spacewalk for Carl Walz and Yuri Onufrienko since they moved into the space station last month. Walz was the first one out, exiting 250 miles above the Pacific.

The spacewalkers complained of a continual high-pitched beeping as they floated outside. Russian engineers were not immediately certain what was causing the noise in the spacesuits.

The spacewalkers' main task was to move a Russian-built crane, nearly 50 feet long when fully extended, from its temporary berth on the U.S. side of the orbiting outpost to a permanent location on the Russian side.

They planned to use another, virtually identical Russian crane to carry out the job. The goal was for both cranes to be located, ultimately, on the Russian docking compartment that was launched in September. Each crane is capable of moving more than 3 tons of equipment.

Also on the men's agenda: installing the first of four ham radio antennas on the living quarters of the space station.

The space station's third resident, American astronaut Daniel Bursch, monitored the spacewalk from inside.

The crew _ the fourth to live on the space station _ will remain on board until May.