Cosmonauts Conclude Russia’s 28th Spacewalk from Station
Flight Engineers Dmitry Kondratyev and Oleg Skripochka re-entered and closed the hatch on the Pirs airlock, concluding Russia’s 28th spacewalk from the International Space Station. The 4-hour, 51-minute spacewalk ended at 1:21 p.m. EST.
The spacewalking duo installed a pair of experiments outside the station’s Russian segment. The Molniya-Gamma experiment will observe radiation emitted during Earth-bound lightning and thunderstorms. The second experiment, Radiometria, will collect seismic information to better predict earthquakes.
The cosmonauts also removed and jettisoned a spacewalk foot restraint. The restraint, which was attached to the Zvezda service module, was jettisoned towards Earth in the opposite direction of the space station’s flight path.
Kondratyev and Skripochka then translated to the Zarya control module and retrieved two Komplast panels. The panels contain materials exposed to the outer space environment. Part of an international experiment, the observations will be used to determine the most durable materials for future spacecraft.
For the duration of the spacewalk the other four Expedition 26 crew members had split in teams of two inside the Russian segment. Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri were staying inside the Poisk mini-research module. Flight Engineers Catherine Coleman and Paolo Nespoli stayed in the U.S. segment, with access to the Rassvet mini-research module and their Soyuz. The precaution would have allowed them to use the Soyuz vehicles to return safely to Earth in an emergency.
Tuesday's scheduled launch of the European Space Agency (ESA) Automated Transfer Vehicle-2 (ATV2) was scrubbed due to a technical issue. A preliminary assessment indicates there may have been erroneous data on the flow of fuel through the manifolds on the first stage of the Ariane 5 rocket. Launch from the Arianespace launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, is now scheduled for Wednesday at 4:50:55 p.m EST. NASA Television coverage will begin at 4:15 p.m.