(New throughout, updates with end of spacewalk, adds quotes)
By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. April 23 Two U.S.
astronauts wrapped up a speedy spacewalk outside the
International Space Station on Wednesday, replacing a failed
computer that backs up one used to control critical systems such
as the station's solar panel wings.
Flight engineers Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson left the
station's Quest airlock just after 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) for
what was expected to be a 2-1/2-hour spacewalk. They replaced
the failed computer and got back into the space station with an
hour to spare.
"Nice and clean. Great job," Canadian astronaut Jeremy
Hansen from NASA's Mission Control in Houston radioed to the
spacewalkers as they prepared to close the hatch.
The computer, about the size of a small microwave oven, is
one of two that control critical systems outside the station.
These include sending commands to rotate the solar panel wings
to track the sun and positioning a mobile base for the station's
"I don't see any obvious damage," Mastracchio said as he and
Swanson inspected the unit, which failed on April 11.
U.S. spacewalks generally last more than six hours, but
except for emergency repairs, NASA spacewalks remain suspended
while engineers assess last year's spacesuit failure that nearly
drowned Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano after his helmet filled
The leak was traced to a blocked filter, and NASA flew parts
to the station for astronauts to make spacesuit repairs before a
pair of emergency spacewalks in December to fix the station's
cooling system. Those astronauts also had snorkels and absorbent
pads in their helmets in case of similar leaks.
Mastracchio, making his ninth spacewalk, and Swanson, on his
fifth, also included snorkels and pads in their helmets.
A new spacesuit is among the cargo aboard the Space
Exploration Technologies' Dragon capsule that reached the
station on Sunday.
NASA expects to resume routine spacewalks for maintenance
and less-pressing repairs in July.
The station, a $100 billion project of 15 nations, is a
permanently staffed research laboratory that flies about 260
miles (420 km) above Earth.
(Reporting by Irene Klotz; Editing by David Gregorio)