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Two NASA astronauts to replace a computer in space -- watch it live

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The spacewalk tools have been laid out. The Quest airlock has been set up. There's a spacewalk coming, and you can watch it live right here.

Early Wednesday morning NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson will don their spacesuits for a 2 1/2-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

Barring any surprises, NASA's live coverage of the event will begin at 5:30 a.m. PDT. The spacewalk itself is scheduled to start at 6:20 a.m. 

The spacewalk was ordered this month to replace a computer on the space station's exterior that failed during a routine check. Mastracchio and Swanson have been charged with removing the broken computer and replacing it with a backup.

The computer, known as a multiplexer-demultiplexer, or MDM, provides commands to some of the space station's systems, including the external cooling system and the mobile transporter rail car. It also controls the station's solar array angles.

There are 45 MDMs located throughout the space station, 24 on the inside and 21 on the outside. Each is about the size of a small cooler you might bring to the beach.

If all goes according to plan, Wednesday's spacewalk will be the ninth in Mastracchio's career and the fifth for Swanson. Mastracchio will be the astronaut with red stripes on his spacesuit; Swanson's spacesuit has no stripes.

Happy spacewalk-watching!

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