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7/20/2009
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Shuttle Crew Marks Apollo 11 With Spacewalk

A pair of Endeavour astronauts will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing with a 6.5 hour space jaunt.

Astronauts' Monday schedule shows that life in the space program ranges from the sublime to the mundane—even on the same day. NASA crews plan a spacewalk to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing; they also have to fix a broken toilet.

Space shuttle Endeavour crewmembers awoke this morning to the theme from the 1960s TV show "The Thunderbirds." Later today, astronauts Dave Wolf and Tom Marshburn will begin a scheduled six and a half hour spacewalk outside the vehicle.

40 years ago Monday, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the lunar surface. He was followed by Eagle lunar lander crewmate Buzz Aldrin, while pilot Michael Collins circled overhead in the Columbia command module.

While Wolf and Marshburn space walk, International Space Station residents Gennady Padalka and Frank DeWinne will work to repair the Waste Hygiene Compartment toilet in the space station's Destiny laboratory. The system's dose pump, which delivers chemicals that separate liquids from solid waste, failed after running for about 15 minutes on Sunday.

Endeavour lifted off last Wednesday after a series of delays caused by faulty equipment and inclement weather.

STS-127, as the mission is called, is a 16-day roundtrip voyage that will see the Endeavour crew work to complete construction of Japan's Kibo space laboratory. The astronauts will add a porch-like platform to the lab's exterior that will allow experiments to be exposed to the vacuum of outer space.

Endeavour crewmember Tim Kopra will remain on the space station while ISS flight engineer Koichi Wakata returns home on the shuttle after a four month stint aboard the ISS.

Click here to see an image gallery of NASA's Max Launch Abort System (MLAS).

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