Astronaut loses mirror, adding to space junk

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NASA astronauts conduct a spacewalk for space station power upgrades

A pair of astronauts have ventured outside the International Space Station some 254 miles above Earth for a spacewalk that is being streamed live by NASA. Cassidy and Bob Behnken were conducting their first of at least four spacewalks, replacing the station batteries when the incident happened.

Early during the spacewalk as Cassidy exited the space station's hatch, his left wrist mirror detached and flew away, but it poses no risk to the crew and the walk continued as planned, according to NASA.

Such mirrors are attached to the wrist to help the astronauts to see the electrical components on a spacesuit and any blind spots that may occur. Later, once he was in sunlight, Cassidy inspected his sleeve for clues that might explain how the mirror came off.

The big, boxy batteries - more powerful and efficient than the old nickel-hydrogen batteries coming out - keep the station humming when it's on the night side of Earth.

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken concluded their spacewalk Friday after over six hours.

Friday's mission is the seventh spacewalk for both Cassidy and Behnken, who were selected by NASA in 2004 and 2000, respectively.

Behnken and Doug Hurley made history when they set off towards the ISS in a Space X Dragon capsule, marking the first-ever first human spaceflight through a government-private partnership.

As the spacewalk ended, Cassidy thanked the cleaning staff at Mission Control in Houston, kept especially busy during "this insane, interesting time".

The International Space Station said on Twitter around 12 p.m. ET that the mission was about two hours ahead of schedule, and that the astronauts were removing the fourth battery, something they weren't expected to do until Wednesday. The AP is exclusively responsible for all content.

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