US astronauts begin spacewalk to perform ISS repairs

US astronaut Richard Arnold -- shown here before heading to the International Space Station -- is one of two Americans undertaking a space walk

Washington (AFP) – Two American astronauts exited the International Space Station Thursday for a lengthy spacewalk to replace old hoses on its cooling system and other equipment upgrades, footage from the US space agency NASA showed.

The walk by flight engineers Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold — expected to last 6.5 hours — got off to a delayed start because leak checks for one of the astronaut’s space suits took longer than expected, a NASA TV commentator said.

It was Feustel’s seventh space walk and Arnold’s third.

The astronauts are recent additions to the crew of the orbiting space station, arriving on March 23 with Russian crewmate Oleg Artemyev aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.

Their task will be to install handrails with built-in wireless communication equipment, replace a video camera and swap out the hoses.

The hoses are suspected as a possible cause of an ammonia leak.