Russian Spacewalk Nears Successful Conclusion

Oleg Skripochka offers view of Kontur experiment though helmet camera view. Photo Credit/NASA TV

Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Skripochka attached an external work platform and retrieved and installed science experiments during a scheduled six hour Nov. 15 spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Though off to a late start, the two men worked quickly enough outside the station’s Russian segment to make up for lost time. Their highest priority tasks included the installation of a work station outside the Zvezda service module to serve as a staging site for future assembly activities and the retrieval of Kontur, a long-running experiment assessing the use of the Internet and three external cameras for the control of a station robot arm. Control exercises have been carried out from work stations in Korolev, the site of Russia’s Mission Control Center. Yurchikhin, 51, and Skripochka, 40, installed a new materials exposure experiment on the Pirs docking compartment and collected samples from beneath the external insulation of the Pirs and Svezda modules. The samples, part of the Test experiment, will be examined for the presence of micro-organisms.

“You guys are working hard,” Russia’s Mission Control noted at one point. “Very well done.”

The Russian control facility relied on NASA’s Tracking & Data Relay Satellite System as well as the use of a U. S. helmet camera in Skripochka’s space suit to enhance their oversight of the outing.

The cosmonauts cleaned the vents for the Elektron, the internal Russian segment oxygen generator. Their final major task was to be the re-location of a television camera from the active to the inactive end of the Rassvet docking compartment. Rassvet was delivered to the station in May aboard the shuttle Atlantis. Yurchikhin is scheduled to return to Earth on Nov. 30 aboard the Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft with Americans Doug Wheelock and Shannon Walker.

Skripochka arrived at the station on Oct. 9 aboard the Soyuz- TMA-01M with Alexander Kaleri and American Scott Kelly for a six-month stay.


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