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Spacewalking astronauts finishing months of robot arm repair


by: By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Spacewalking astronauts are finally wrapping up months of repair work on the International Space Station's big robot arm.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei (VAN-duh HI) and Japan's Norishige Kanai (kuh-NIE) ventured out Friday to complete the job that began last October.

The 58-foot robot arm had both of its aging mechanical hands replaced on previous spacewalks. Friday's work involves bringing one of those old hands inside so it can be returned to Earth for a tuneup, and moving the other gripper to a long-term storage location outside.

This last spacewalk in the series should have been completed by now, but was postponed because of complications with the robotic hand that was installed last month. Further delays were caused by this week's late arrival of a Russian supply ship.

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