Mir Cosmonauts Make First Commercial Space Walk

MirCosmonauts Sergei Zalyotin and Alexander Kalery ventured outside Mir today for a marathon space walk. This was not the first space walk outside Mir - but it was the first one paid for with commercial funding. During the course of their 5 hour EVA, they tried out a new sealant to fix cracks in Mir's hull, retrieved old experiments, and inspected Mir's solar panels. As they examined these panels a blackened area was observed, indicative of a short circuit. This would (apparently) explain how one of Mir's solar panels failed earlier this year. Zalyotin and Kalery have been aboard Mir since 6 April as part of a commercial attempt by MirCorp to revitalize Mir and prepare it for commercial operation. They are currently scheduled to return to Earth in June leaving Mir unoccupied once again until a follow-on commercial crew is expected to return in the Fall of this year.

° MirCorp website
° Press releases, MirCorp
° Mir Updates, MirNews
° The Prospect of a Commercial Mir: Are we going to have TWO space stations?, SpaceRef
° National Research Council Supports Non-NASA Operator for Space Station Research, SpaceRef

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