Sunday, 23 September, 2018


Two Russian cosmonauts beat the previous record of the longest Russian spacewalk

Credit NASA Credit NASA
Kristine Garrett | 06 February, 2018, 15:20

A record-breaking spacewalk conducted over the weekend ended with an antenna pointed in the wrong direction on the International Space Station (ISS).

Two Russian Cosmonauts spent 8 hours 13 minutes outside the ISS, making it the longest ever Russian Spacewalk.

Their job is to replace an old electronics box for the main antenna on the Russian side of the space station. The replacement will enable the data transmission and ISS telemetry belonging to the Russian segment to have a similar performance as the US space agency's communications.

Issues arose after Misurkin and Shkaplerov successfully replaced an electronics box to upgrade the antenna on Friday. Around the seven-hour mark, the scientists realised that the antenna on the electronics box was not extending and that it was pointing in the wrong direction. In spite of its askew position, it is functional, said Rob Navias, a Nasa TV commentator, during a live webcast. In order to work, the antenna needed updated electronics.

As Space.com reports, the Russian communication system has a history of drama. The new electronics box will improve the communications with Russia's Mission Control outside Moscow.

During the record-breaking spacewalk, the two cosmonauts removed the old electronic box and installed a new electronics and telemetry box on a communication antenna on the Zvezda service module.

As to why the seemingly simple task of replacing an electronics box took so long, the report says that the original box was not created to be serviced in orbit, or even removed after installation.

ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology. Along with the electronics box, two towels that were used to wipe down the suits after the spacewalk were also flung into space. They beat the previous record by just 5 minutes. It is the longest Russian spacewalk, breaking the previous record of 8 hours and 7 minutes that Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazanskiy set December 27, 2013, on a spacewalk during Expedition 38. This was Shkaplerov's second spacewalk, and he has now accrued 14 hours and 28 minutes.

This was the second spacewalk at the ISS this year and the 207th in all.

Cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin (left) and Anton Shkaplerov are pictured in their Russian Orlan spacesuits during a fit check on January 31, 2018.

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