Friday, August 16, 2013

Cosmonauts Complete Record Breaking Spacewalk in Preparation for the Arrival of New Russian Laboratory

Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikin and Alexander Misurkin have completed a record setting 7.5 hour spacewalk aboard the International Space Station, carrying out work outside of the station, ahead of the arrival of a new Russian laboratory, scheduled to launch later this year.

Today's spacewalkers: Yurchikin(left) and Misurkin

Today's EVA officially began at 14:39 UTC, when Misurkin; conducting his second spacewalk today; opened the hatch of the Pirs Docking Compartment in the Russian segment of the station. He then exited the airlock, and was soon joined by seven-time space walker Yurchikin.

The main tasks that were to be completed today was the re-routing and installation of a series of power and ethernet cables along the exterior of both the Russian and US segments of the International Space Station, as well as the installation of an exposed experiment panel and gap spanners on Poisk.

Using the station's 46-foot long Strela cargo boom, Misurkin maneuvered Yurchikin over to the station's Zarya Module with cables in hand, Yurchikin then began to re-route a cable connector and install cables on Zarya. In the meantime, Misurkin installed the Vinoslivost experiment on Poisk. Vinoslivost, meaning Endurance in Russian, exposes materials to the vacuum of space, so scientists on the ground can observe changes in their properties.

The duo then then began working on re-routing cables that had been installed on a previous spacewalk between Zarya and Poisk. Yurchikin and Misurkin installed the cables between the two Russian modules, while at the same time, securing the cables' slack. The cosmonauts then worked on reeling out and installing an ethernet cable that will be connected to the new Multi-Purpose Laboratory Module(MLM) upon it's arrival later this year.
Fyodor Yurchikin appears in Misurkin's Helmet-Cam as the pair
installed ethernet cables, 4 hours into today's EVA
credit: NASA

Upon completion, the spacewalking pair translated back towards Pirs, before carrying out an inventory check of all their equipment and tools prior to re-entering the Pirs airlock.

Today's EVA lasted a total of 7 hours and 29 minutes- the longest Russian EVA ever conducted, when the hatch of the Pirs Airlock was closed with the two cosmonauts safely inside at 22:05 UTC.

All in all endurace was the name of the game today. Yurchikin and Misurkin will now need to take a well deserved rest at the weekend, ahead of yet another busy week of Space Station science, and yet another spacewalk on Thursday August 22. The pair will once again venture outside one last time together before Expedition 36 comes to an end in September.