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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Next Spacewalk to Tackle Leaky Hatch on Mir

Russian cosmonauts will try to secure Mir's leaking outer hatch when they perform a second space walk this week to restore the power supply on the damaged station, space officials said Tuesday.

The hatch trouble was detected when commander Anatoly Solovyov and engineer Pavel Vinogradov tried to restore pressure in the airlock after a six-hour space walk Monday to dismantle an obsolete solar panel, said officials at the mission control center in Korolyov outside Moscow.

When an indicator showed that the seal had failed, ground controllers instructed the men to move through to the reserve compartment of the Kvant II science module where the hatch is located. The second hatch was closed off normally.

Officials said the leaking hatch did not pose a danger to the crew and steps would be taken to secure it after Thursday's six-hour spacewalk, during which the cosmonauts will install a new solar panel and activate a new carbon dioxide removal system.

"During the return passage through the airlock, additional locks on the exit hatch will be closed manually with a special key," flight director Vladimir Solovyov said on Russian television. "This will double the strength of the seal."

The eight-year-old Kvant II module is linked to the rest of the station by a transfer node, and can be sealed off entirely if necessary.

Solovyov, who is not related to the flight director at mission control, also had to fix the outer hatch once before in 1990.