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COSMONAUTS PLAN 2 SPACEWALKS

Cosmonauts will make two inspection tours outside Russia's orbital station Mir within a week after a difficult docking with a cargo space-ship, a spokesman for ground control said Wednesday.

Russian Yuri Malenchenko and Kazakhstan's Talgat Musabayev, who are to take part in the spacewalks Friday and Tuesday, will have to deal with minor damage caused by two abortive docking attempts earlier this week.In a last-ditch effort Friday, Malenchenko had to manually handle the docking of a Progress cargo ship, which delivered scientific instruments and supplies to Mir, after two attempts using automatic systems had failed.

The failed dockings had thrown a huge shadow over the future of Mir - centerpiece of the Kremlin's once-prestigious space program - and of planned joint missions with Germany and the United States.

Failure would have plunged Moscow's space program into disaster and almost certainly led to the scrapping of next month's mission with Germany's Ulf Merbold and one scheduled for May next year with the United States involving the shuttle.