Russian Spacewalk Readies Space Station for new Science Module

August 16th, 2013

Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin strung power and data cables outside the International Space Station’s Russian segment on Friday to provide Russia’s future Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module with electricity and Ethernet connectivity from the U. S. side.

The six to seven hour excursion got under way at 10:39 a.m., EDT, as the two men depressurized the Pirs airlock.

Soon, Yurchikin was on the 46-foot-long Russian Strella boom with two power cable reels and an Ethernet cable bundle gazing down at the Earth 260 miles below. Misurkin hand cranked the boom to maneuver his colleague into place on the 15-year-old Zarya module to begin stringing the cables through a series of clamps and hand rails installed by the two men during June 24 spacewalk.

Spacewalking cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, left, rides Russian Strella boom outside the International Space Station. Photo Credit/NASA TV.


The 22 ton Nauka combination laboratory and airlock is expected at the ISS late this year, at the earliest, following a launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome inKazakhstan atop a Proton rocket.

The MLM will replace Pirs, launched a dozen years ago. Pirs will be propelled away from the station with a Progress cargo capsule that docked to the ISS on July 27.

Also on Friday’s spacewalk agenda was installation of a Russian  materials science experiment, Vinoslivost.

Yurchikhin and Misurkin are scheduled to spacewalk again on Aug. 22 to replace a laser communications experiment with a telescope mount and to remove a docking assembly from Pirs.