Two Russian cosmonauts spent six hours outside the International Space Station Thursday (June 22) cleaning up the orbiting laboratory’s exterior by removing and tossing three devices no longer needed, including an spent science experiment.
Expedition 69 Commander Sergei Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitry Petlin, both of Russia’s federal space company Roscosmos, exited the space station’s Poisk module at 10:24 a.m. EDT (1424 GMT) Thursday.
In addition to getting rid of the hardware, the spacewalk also involved installing a new stent for high-speed telemetry equipment and restoring the micrometeorite impact experiment that had been installed outside the space station for a number of years.
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Prokopyev and Petelin made quick work of rerouting the cables and disconnecting the data relay unit and telemetry transmitter, as well as the instrumentation for a completed experiment measuring seismic activity on land, before throwing each into the sea for eventual disposal, causing it to burn up in the atmosphere. to earth. .
“Wave her goodbye,” Mission Control Moscow advised, as Prokopiev prepared to drop an item into space. “rest in peace.”
The experiment, called Seismoprognoz, was installed outside the Zvezda service module during an Expedition 38 spacewalk on December 27, 2013, nearly 10 years ago. Like the communication modules, the Seismoprognoz were thrown from the back of the space station in a direction that ensured that the gear could not reconnect with the outpost.
The disposals, which also included the struts (or “mono”) that held the equipment at Zvezda, gave way to the installation of new hardware, including a monoblock for a new high-speed data unit that Prokopyev and Petelin had installed on the unit.
The two spacemen also documented the shaft deflection condition at the rear end of the Zvezda service module for later analysis by Russian engineers on the ground. Reflectors protect the station from the unit’s drive shaft. The check comes nearly 23 years after Zvezda launched a Russian Proton rocket in July 2000.
“You look like a dirty frying pan,” said Prokopyev. “That would have made for some really good French fries.”
“Well, it hasn’t been washed for a while,” Bethlen replied.
The astronauts also took high-resolution photographs of the boom as a high-data antenna was installed at the rear end of the Zvezda service module.
The duo then proceeded to the other side of the Zvezda to finish their missions for this spacewalk. They cleaned one of the unit’s windows with towels and then also wrung them out and retrieved a final science experiment, a package displaying a biological sample, located near the hatch in Poisk’s airlock.
The spacewalk ended at 4:48 p.m. EDT (2048 GMT) with Prokopyev and Petlin returning inside Poisk after working for 6 hours and 24 minutes in the vacuum of space.
With the completion of Thursday’s spacewalk, Prokopyev has now logged 48 hours, 40 minutes in seven extravehicular activities (EVAs). Petelin has now conducted five spacewalks, all with Prokopyev, lasting a total of 33 hours and 9 minutes.
The EVA was the ninth this year and the 266th assigned to ISS assembly and maintenance since 1998.
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