Spacewalkers prepare International Space Station for new Russian lab

 

Cape Canaveral

Two veteran cosmonauts sailed through a six-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station yesterday to prepare the orbital outpost for a new module and better shield its living quarters against small meteorite and debris impacts, officials said.

Station commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko opened the hatch on the station's airlock at 11:37 am EDT (1537 GMT) to begin a spacewalk to relocate a construction crane, install debris shields and release a small satellite into orbit.

Their departure was delayed about an hour while engineers assessed a leak between the Pirs docking module and Russian segments of the station, a $100 billion laboratory for microgravity experiments and technology testing that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

But the issue was resolved and the experienced spacewalkers more than made up the lost time.

Padalka, who was making his ninth spacewalk, and Malenchenko, on his fifth, moved a hand-operated, 46-foot (14-meter) crane, called Strela-2, from the outside of Pirs to Zarya, the cornerstone of the station. Pirs is due to be detached from the station next year to make room for a new Russian laboratory and docking module.

The United States completed construction of its part of the outpost last year and retired its three space shuttles. Europe, Japan and Canada also are partners on the project.

With the crane in place, the spacewalkers then used a hand tool to launch a 20-pound (nine-kg) spherical satellite on a path behind the space station.

"Nice throw," a flight director in the Russian mission control center outside Moscow said through a translator monitoring radio communications with the cosmonauts.

The satellite, which is expected to remain in orbit for about three months, is intended to serve as a target for Russian engineers working on computer models that evaluate orbital tracking.

The spacewalkers' last major task was to install five debris shields to the outside of the Zvezda module, the crew's primary living quarters. They also retrieved a briefcase-sized experiment that has been exposing various materials to the harsh environment of space and installed two support struts on a ladder.

Padalka and Malenchenko returned through an airlock and shut the hatch at 5:28 p.m. EDT (2128 GMT), completing the 163rd spacewalk for station assembly and maintenance.

On Aug. 30, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, both station flight engineers, are scheduled to make another spacewalk to replace a power relay unit on the station's truss, set up power cables for the Russian laboratory module scheduled to launch next year and install a thermal cover on a docking port.

Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)