Saturday, November 13, 2010

Russians Plan 26th Space Station Spacewalk

Two Russian cosmonauts will float outside one of the International Space Station’s hatchways on Monday to perform a grab bag of spacewalking tasks that outfit the Russian segment for future assembly work and support external experiments.

Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Skripochka, both Expedition 25 flight engineers, will wear Orlan spacesuits and emerge from the Earth-facing Pirs docking compartment airlock around 9:25 a.m. EST for a planned 5-hour, 55-minute excursion.

Monday’s spacewalk will be the fifth for Yurchikhin, who will wear the spacesuit marked with red stripes and the first for Skripochka, who will wear the suit with blue stripes.

The primary assembly and maintenance objectives of the spacewalk are to install a multipurpose workstation on the starboard side of the Zvezda service module’s large-diameter section, clean thermal insulation around the vents for the Elektron oxygen-generation system and relocate a television camera from one end of the Rassvet docking compartment to the other.

Research objectives include cleaning and removing a robotics experiment known as Kontur, short for Development of a System of Supervisory Control Over the Internet of the Robotic Manipulator in the Russian Segment of ISS, from the port side of Zvezda into the Pirs airlock; installing a new materials experiment on a handrail on the Rassvet module, and collecting samples from the exterior of Zvezda and Pirs.

While Yurchikhin and Skripochka are outside the station, their colleagues inside will be in their respective Soyuz spacecraft, ready for departure in the unlikely event of an emergency. Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineer Shannon Walker will be in the Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft docked to the Rassvet module, while Flight Engineers Scott Kelly and Alexander Kaleri will be in the Soyuz TMA-O1M spacecraft docked to the Poisk module.

Flight controllers in the Mission Control Center in Korolev, outside of Moscow, will provide primary support for the spacewalk, but coordinate activities with their colleagues in Mission Control, Houston.