Two components on the Russian side of the International Space Station are about to be moved by robot after two cosmonauts performed a spacewalk to prepare the parts for their move.
Expedition 68 Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitry Petelin, both of Russian federal space company Roscosmos, conducted a six-hour, 25-minute EVA (extravehicular activity) on Thursday (Nov 17) to prepare an airlock and a radiator for their transfer from one Russian module to another. The hardware was launched to the station 12 years ago aboard a NASA space shuttle and is now being repositioned to support a newer module.
Prokopyev and Petelin departed the station’s space-oriented Poisk module at 9:39 a.m. EST (1439 GMT) to begin the first of four planned spacewalks in support of the movements. The work of the cosmonauts has mainly focused on the release of the radiator, which serves to dissipate heat and which must be moved robotically during the next EVA scheduled for November 25.
Related: The most memorable spacewalks of all time in pictures
The spacewalkers began their tasks by fitting an adapter to what is called an in-flight releasable grapple device on the airlock currently attached to the Russian Rassvet mini-research pod on the Earth-facing side of the station. . They then operated and opened valves in order to evacuate the nitrogen in the hydraulic loops which supported a radiator also housed outside Rassvet.
Completing this job quickly and smoothly, Prokopyev and Petelin focused on removing six radiator retainers that had been in place since the component was launched with Rassvet aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis’ STS-132 mission in 2010. The two also installed a retainer on the Strela boom – an extension used by astronauts to move between modules – so that a footrest and other equipment could be fitted to support the process of relocation of the radiator.
Prokopyev and Petelin’s final major task on the spacewalk was to install a “large object attachment system” on Nauka’s general-purpose lab module, where the airlock will be attached during a scheduled EVA. on December 6, two spacewalks away from today’s spacewalk. During installation there was talk of using a hammer to drive the panel into place.
“It looks like we’re not going to need the hammer,” Prokopyev said.
“Yeah, looks like we’re lucky and the hammer won’t be needed,” Petelin replied.
“Well, I was all excited about hammering in space!” Prokopiev answered.
“Well, you know, next week at the next EVA we will remove the cap and dismantle the old radiator, so we will take all the tools available with us. So you may still have the opportunity”, Petelin said.
Expedition 68 flight engineer Anna Kikina, the only woman in Roscosmos’ active cosmonaut corps, is to move the airlock and radiator using the recently added 36-foot-long (11-meter) European robotic arm from a control panel located inside the space station.
Prokopyev and Petelin returned to the space station at 4:07 p.m. EST (21:07 GMT).
Thursday’s EVA was the third for Prokopyev and the first for Petelin. Prokopyev has now logged 21 hours and 56 minutes on his three spacewalks.
The EVA was the 10th of the year, the second of at least seven planned for the current International Space Station Expedition 68 mission, and the 255th since 1998 in support of the assembly and maintenance of the ‘ISS.
Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) Or on Facebook (opens in a new tab).
#Russian #cosmonauts #complete #station #spacewalk #prepare #radiator #move