Russian Spacewalk Under Way

Cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, right, emerges from the Pirs airlock as Russian spacewalk begins. Photo Credit/NASA TV

Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Skripochka floated outside the International Space Station early Nov. 15, kicking off a six hour spacewalk to retrieve external science experiments, attach a work platform and other gear as well as conduct a variety of maintenance tasks. The outing, which got under way at 9:54 a.m., EDT, was expected to last six hours. Yurchikhin, 51, and Skripochka, 40, were restricting their activities to the outside of the station’s Russian segment. Top priorities included the installation of a portable work station on the Zvezda service module and a series of hand rails linking the Poisk research module, Zvezda and Zarya control modules.

New work station to assist with future Russian assembly activities. Image Credit/NASA TV

The cosmonauts will retrieve the Russian Kontur and European Space Agency Expose-R experiments, the first an engineering investigation into the control authority of robot arms and the second a study of the effects of the space vacuum on organic materials. During a third research activity, Test, the spacewalkers will check for the presence of micro-organisms beneath insulation on the Russian segment. They will relocate an external video camera on the Rassvet science modle that was delivered to the station aboard the shuttle Atlantis in May and clean the vents for the Elektron oxygen generator. 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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