Astronauts made a spacewalk on Christmas Eve in order to repair the cooling system of the International Space Station. It was a difficult 7 ½ hour mission for the astronauts, who also had to deal with a wave of noxious ammonia while they replaced the cooling system pump. The ammonia seeped into the astronauts’ suits, creating a delay in the mission while the astronauts switched gear to avoid contamination.
“It’s the best Christmas ever,” Mission Control radioed.
“Merry Christmas to everybody,” replied astronaut Michael Hopkins. “It took a couple weeks to get her done, but we got it.”
An earlier spacewalk took place on Saturday when the damaged pump was removed, and the new one went in on Tuesday. Hopkins guided the 780-pound pump into place in a very delicate procedure. “Mike Hopkins taking a special sleigh ride on this Christmas Eve,” Mission Control commentator Rob Navias said.