Astronauts Repair Space Station
Astronauts spent the holiday week working outside, replacing a busted cooling pump on the International Space Station. High above the Atlantic Ocean, NASA's Rick Mastracchio here participates in the first stage of the repairs on a 5-hour, 28-minute spacewalk. (See also: "Top 5 Space Station Repair Spacewalk Dangers.")
Mastracchio and another NASA astronaut, Mike Hopkins, successfully completed the repairs on Christmas Eve. Drama had accompanied these spacewalks after a helmet had filled dangerously with water during a previous spacewalk.
Mastracchio and Hopkins performed their repairs so efficiently, however, that a third spacewalk was canceled because it was not needed to finish the job.
Best New Space Pictures: Saturn's Crown and Astronauts' Renown
Winter's blue bands bound Saturn, while astronauts worked above a gleaming Earth in the week's best space pictures.