Two Expedition 24 cosmonauts conducted a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station earlier today, outfitting the newest module for future dockings of Russian vehicles. Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Mikhail Kornienko set up the Kurs automated rendezvous on the Rassvet module, which was delivered on the last space shuttle mission to the ISS. Additionally, the pair of spacewalkers routed and mated Command and Data Handling cables on the Zvezda and Zarya modules. While they also purposefully jettisoned an old camera, two other objects got loose and floated away from the astronauts. The objects are being tracked to make sure they will not pose a threat to the station later.
One was tentatively identified as a cable clamp, left outside the station from a previous Russian spacewalk, and the other object was not conclusively identified.
This was the 147th spacewalk at the ISS for station assembly and maintenance. This was Kornienko’s first spacewalk and Yurchikhin’s fourth. Yurchikhin’s first three spacewalks occurred when he was commander of Expedition 15 in 2007.
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The camera that was tossed away was replaced, and the new camera will provide better television views of the final approach and docking of future European Automated Transfer Vehicles carrying cargo to the station.
Another spacewalk will take place next week, on August 5, with US astronauts Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson getting the chance to go outside. They will install a power cable to the Unity module in preparation for the installation of the Permanent Multipurpose Module during the STS-133 mission in November. A Portable Data Grapple Fixture will be installed on the Zarya module that will extend the reach of Canadarm2, the station’s robotic arm, and increase a spacewalker’s access for assembly or maintenance work. They also will jettison multi-layer insulation removed for the grapple fixture installation and will mate power connectors to Zarya.