NewsWorldRussian cosmonauts to conduct first of 11 spacewalks for...

Russian cosmonauts to conduct first of 11 spacewalks for new space station module


(CNN) – Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov will conduct a spacewalk on Friday to prepare the new Nauka module for operations on the International Space Station.

The spacewalk will begin at 10:35 am ET and is expected to last nearly seven hours. Live coverage will be shared on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

Preparations for a spacewalk 1:28

This is the first of what could be up to 11 spacewalks for the cosmonauts as they work at Nauka, a multipurpose laboratory module that includes additional space for research and dormitories. The next spacewalk, which is expected to last about five hours, is scheduled for September 9.

In July, Russia’s newly docked Nauka module accidentally ignited its thrusters, spinning the space station out of control. At that time, three NASA astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts, a Japanese astronaut, and a European Space Agency astronaut were on board.

Dmitry Rogozin, CEO of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, told CNN that “we had a problem” and attributed it to human error.

Nauka was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 21 and docked on July 29.

Roscosmos cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov photographed during an earlier spacewalk.

During Friday’s spacewalk, Novitskiy and Dubrov will connect power, Ethernet and data cables between Nauka and the Russian service module Zvezda. The two cosmonauts will install handrails and complete the remaining tasks for cable routing work during the Sept. 9 spacewalk.

For both spacewalks, Novitskiy will be the extravehicular crew member 1 in the Russian Orlan spacesuit with the red stripes, and Dubrov will wear the spacesuit with the blue stripes as the extravehicular crew member 2.

The departures will be the second and third spacewalks for Dubrov and Novitskiy, respectively, as well as spacewalks 242 and 243 in support of the assembly, maintenance and upgrade of the space station.

Meanwhile, a spacewalk scheduled for August 24, which would include NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, will now take place on September 12, with some changes.

The August spacewalk was postponed a day before it happened due to what NASA described as a “minor medical problem” experienced by Vande Hei.

While no further details have been shared on this issue, aside from the fact that it was not a medical emergency, Vande Hei will now provide internal support during the Sept. 12 spacewalk as he continues to recover.

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet will take his place alongside Hoshide. During the walk, Hoshide and Pesquet will install a retrofit kit that will prepare for future Roll-Out Solar Array installation work.

This will be the first spacewalk conducted outside of the orbiting laboratory’s Quest airlock by two international partner astronauts on the space station, according to NASA.

A 360-degree virtual reality camera will film Hoshide and Pesquet during their spacewalk.

CNN’s Kristin Fisher contributed to this report.


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