Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS) completed a 6-hour, 38-minute spacewalk today at 4:41 p.m. EDT. Russian Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov and Roman Romanenko, members of the Expedition 35 crew, stepped outside of the orbiting laboratory to deploy and retrieve a variety of scientific experiments on the outside of the space station.
Vingradov and Romanenko stepped outside of the Pirs airlock and docking compartment shortly after 10 a.m. EDT. First they installed the Obstanovka experiment onto the ISS’s Zvezda module. Obstanovka will study the impact of plasma waves and space weather on the Earth’s ionosphere.
The spacewalking duo made the most of their time outside by replacing a faulty retro-reflector which is used for navigational purposes. The new one should be used this June when the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Albert Einstein is slated to dock with the ISS.
The pair of Russian spacewalkers then deployed a pair of sensor booms for Obstanovka. Once they had completed this, they retrieved the Biorisk experiment from the outside of the Pirs element of the station. This experiment looked into how microbes were affected by exposure to the space environment on the outside of the ISS.
Finally, the two moved over to the Poisk module to collect one of the two Vinoslivost Materials Sample Experiment panels. It is here that a panel slipped free of Vinogradov’s grasp. Luckily, it is thought this panel stands little chance of impacting with the outside of the spacecraft.
This marks the 167th spacewalk conducted to support station operations. With the conclusion of today’s spacewalk the total time conducted on spacewalks in support of ISS has reached 1,055 hours, 39 minutes. This is the seventh spacewalk for Vinogradov, and it is Romanenko’s first. All total, there could be as many as six spacewalks this year; the U.S. has two planned to take place in July.
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