In a daring spacewalk, two space station astronauts cut into the insulation of their descent capsule Thursday and removed an explosive bolt that could have blown off their hands with firecracker force.
Spacewalkers Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko managed, in the end, to safely disconnect the bolt from the Soyuz capsule that will be their ride home this fall. They immediately slid it into a blastproof container.
"It is in," one of the Russian spacewalkers called out.
"Good. Thank God," someone replied in Russian.
NASA said that its own engineers were convinced the astronauts would be in no danger and that it would be all right for them to put the explosive bolt in the blast-proof canister and take it into the international space station for eventual return to Earth.
The past two Soyuz descents have been steep, off-course and bone-jarring, and the Russian Space Agency wants to avoid the problem when Volkov and Kononenko fly home in October.
Rep. Jefferson linked to new criminal case
A Louisiana congressman awaiting trial on corruption charges is now linked to another criminal case, a revelation that could provide new fodder for his growing list of fall challengers.
Democratic U.S. Rep. William Jefferson and his sister have been implicated but not charged in a federal money laundering case, lawyers for a state lawmaker indicted in the case said Thursday. The Jeffersons also face criminal charges in separate federal cases.
The state lawmaker, Sen. Derrick Shepherd, is accused of helping an unlicensed bond broker launder money to conceal an illegal insurance business.
William Jefferson was indicted last year on charges of soliciting more than $500,000 in bribes while using his office to broker business deals in Africa.
COLUMBUS, Ohio: Residents of a mostly black neighborhood were awarded nearly $11-million Thursday by a federal jury that found local authorities denied them public water service for decades out of racial discrimination.
LAKE WORTH, Texas: A teenager jailed on accusations that he delivered drug-laced cookies to a dozen police stations was released Thursday after tests showed no drugs in goodies taken to two departments.
WASHINGTON: The Capitol Visitor Center, the largest and most costly construction project in the Capitol's history, will open to the public on Dec. 2, congressional leaders said Thursday. Final costs were recently estimated at $621-million, more than double the $265-million anticipated when the project began.