by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) Dec 31, 2013
Two Russian cosmonauts in Orlan spacesuits wrapped up a 8-hour, 7-minute spacewalk to attempt the installation of photographic equipment on the exterior of the International Space Station at 4:07 p.m. EST Friday.
Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy promptly completed the main objective of Friday's spacewalk -- the installation of a pair of high-fidelity cameras as part of a Canadian commercial endeavor designed to downlink Earth observation imagery - but had to remove them later due to an unspecified problem that prevented telemetry from being received on the ground by Russian flight controllers.
As planned, Kotov and Ryazanskiy attached the two cameras on a combination biaxial pointing platform and spacewalk workstation that was installed on the Zvezda service module during a spacewalk on Nov. 9. Kotov and Ryazanskiy also installed a foot restraint to the workstation.
After routing data and telemetry cables for the medium resolution camera, Kotov jettisoned the cable reel opposite of the station's direction of travel for disposal.
When the flight control team at the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow did not see the expected telemetry and electrical connectivity from the medium and high resolution cameras, Kotov and Ryazanskiy were directed to remove the cameras and return them to the airlock for further analysis. The spacewalkers also were instructed to take detailed photographs of the electrical connectors mated earlier for additional review.
In addition to their work with the two cameras, the spacewalkers also removed the Vsplesk experiment package and jettisoned it. Vsplesk, installed during an Expedition 17 spacewalk in July 2008, was designed to monitor seismic effects using high-energy particle streams in the near-Earth environment. Kotov and Ryazanskiy replaced it with hardware for a more sophisticated earthquake-monitoring experiment, Seismoprognoz, which they attached to a Zvezda handrail.
Because of the issue in activating the cameras, Kotov and Ryazanskiy did not have time to complete the all of their planned tasks, which included the jettisoning of a frame that once held three Micro-Particles Capturer and Space Environment Exposure Device (MPAC and SEED) units for a Japanese space exposure study and the installation of a payload boom.
Friday's spacewalk eclipsed the record for the longest Russian spacewalk set by Expedition 36 Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin, who conducted a 7-hour, 29 minute excursion on Aug. 16.
With the completion of his fifth spacewalk, Kotov now has 30 hours and 43 minutes of total spacewalking time. Ryazanskiy has a total of 13 hours and 57 minutes over his two spacewalks.
This was the 177th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance, totaling 1,115 hours, 44 minutes, and the 11th spacewalk this year. During the spacewalk, Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins was restricted to the Poisk module and the Soyuz TMA-10M craft that brought him, Kotov and Ryazanskiy to the complex in September. The remaining three crew members - Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio, Koichi Wakata and Mikhail Tyurin - had access to the Zarya module and the entirety of the U.S. segment of the station.
Friday's Russian spacewalk was not related to a recent pair of U.S. spacewalks to replace a faulty ammonia coolant pump module. Flight controllers in Houston's Mission Control successfully restarted the new pump Tuesday night following two spacewalks - including a 7-hour, 30-minute excursion Tuesday -- by Mastracchio and Hopkins to replace a degraded pump module on the station's starboard truss. That pump module continues to operate well.
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