Monday, June 24, 2013

Cosmonauts Yurchikin and Misurkin Complete 6.5 Hour EVA

Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station have successfully completed an Extra-Vehicular Activity(EVA) on the exterior of the International Space Station.

Spacewalker Yurchikin(left) and Misurkin
credit: NASA
Expedition 36 Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikin, and Alexander Misurkin of the Russian Federal Space Agecncy donned their Orlan spacesuits and got straight to work on the tasks on hand, after leaving the Pirs Docking Compartment airlock at 2:32 p.m. GMT.

The majority of today's work took place on the exterior of the station's Zarya Module. Yurchikin and Misurkin firstly replaced a regulator panel that has expired in the Russian coolant system, before moving on to the installation of a series of cable clamps in preparation for the next Russian EVA, scheduled for August 15.

The spacewalking duo then routed cables which will provide power and data ahead of the arrival of the new Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module(MLM) Nauka, which is expected to launch to the ISS later this year. Nauka will replace the Pirs Docking Compartment, which was launched in 2001, and will be de-orbited after it becomes the first ISS module to be decommissioned. Nauka will serve as the primary Russian research module aboard the orbiting laboratory. It will be fully equipped with crew quarters, a toilet, and the all-important scientific laboratory.
Fyodor Yurchikin during the EVA
credit: NASA

Yurchikin and Misurkin also spent time retrieving and deploying a number of scientific experiments located on the station's exterior, allowing them to be exposed to the vacuum of space for their specified lifespan. One such experiment is the Photon-Gamma Experiment, which measures gamma splashes and optical
radiation during terrestrial lightning and thunder conditions, from a portable workstation on Zvezda. This will be removed to make way for the installation of an Optical Telescope on future EVAs. The Zvezda Service Module was also the focus of a lot of today's activity, with the spacewalkers testing the KURS docking equipment ahead of the arrival of the MLM. Misurkin and Yurchikin also installed some gap spanners to aid future spacewalkers.

Today's spacewalk by Misurkin and Yurchikin is the first of five EVAs planned for Expedition 36. A further three Russian spacewalks will be performed by Yurchikin and Misurkin, mainly focusing on preparing space station systems for the arrival of the MLM. Two US EVAs will be performed by Expedition 36 Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy of NASA and Luca Parmitano of ESA during the remainder of Expedition 36.