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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mir Spacewalk Postponed

The crew of the Mir space station is so busy unloading supplies from a cargo ship that their next spacewalk has been postponed for a week until Jan. 6, Russian space officials said Tuesday.

The spacewalk by cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov, needed to carry out repairs on the station's exit hatch, was tentatively scheduled for Dec. 30 or 31.

However, mission control said the cosmonauts, along with U.S. astronaut David Wolf, have their hands full unloading the Progress M-37 cargo ship, which docked with Mir on Monday. In addition, New Year's festivities are coming up, officials said.

The Progress brought a new airtight seal for the exit hatch on the Mir's Kvant-2 module, which failed to close properly after a spacewalk by Solovyov and Vinogradov on Nov. 3.

The docking chamber is sealed from the rest of the station, so its partial loss of pressure has not affected other sections of the sprawling space outpost.

Solovyov and Vinogradov are to install the new rubber seal during their Jan. 6 trip into open space.

Another spacewalk, by Solovyov and Wolf, aimed at retrieving some NASA scientific equipment on the outside of the station, was postponed to Jan. 12 from Jan. 9.

Mir has experienced a series of accidents this year, but its current crew has carried out successful repairs to restore power supply lost in a June collision with an unmanned cargo ship.