Cosmonauts complete risky mission

Two Russian cosmonauts have removed an explosive bolt from the lock binding the descent module with their Soyuz spacecraft, which is docked with the International Space Station. Commander of the 17th expedition to the International Space Station Sergei Vo

Mission controllers had assured the men that the spacewalk should not be too dangerous, as the piece is designed to absorb significant force before detonating.

The mission was not without its dangers, however, as the explosive bolt, if mishandled, could have blown off the cosmonauts' hands. Also the crew members used a common knife to cut into the insulation surrounding the bolt and knives are normally shunned by spacewalkers because of the danger of piercing their pressurised spacesuits.

The work was a safety precaution aimed at protecting the spaceship and its passengers during their scheduled re-entry this autumn.