The spacewalk by cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev and astronaut John Phillips came just 1 1/2 weeks after the departure of shuttle Discovery. The two left the space station vacant to accomplish the job; flight controllers in Houston and Moscow kept watch over the systems the entire time.
Working 220 miles up, Krikalev and Phillips retrieved bundles of research experiments that had been hanging on the outside of the complex for some time, so they could bring them back in for eventual return to Earth. Some of the packages were replaced with fresh specimens.
One two-hour chore — removing a crane attachment from the side of the station — had to be dropped because after nearly five hours outside, the spacewalkers were running out of air in their spacesuits, with just about one hour's worth left to use.
"Well, it's a pity, we had it planned, I think we could have done it," Krikalev complained. "If we had known, we wouldn't have worked so hard."
Mission Control replied there was not enough time and informed the two men in no uncertain times: "That's it."
The spacewalk was the only one scheduled for Krikalev and Phillips, who are four months into their six-month mission. It was the eighth spacewalk in Krikalev's long career and the first for Phillips.
Part of Krikalev's disappointment at abbreviating the spacewalk, reports CBS News Correspondent Peter King, may be that cosmonauts are paid per job, instead of receiving a straight salary.
But there's also a matter of pride, says King, pointing out that Krikalev has logged more hours in space than any other human.
Just this week, Krikalev became the most experienced space flier ever, exceeding the record of 748 days set in the late 1990s by cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev over three missions.
Krikalev spent two long stints aboard Russia's former Mir station, and flew twice on NASA's space shuttles. He also was part of the international space station's first crew nearly five years ago.