Two astronauts returned to work on Friday (September 2), more than making up for a spacewalk cut short two weeks ago.
Expedition 67 commander Oleg Artemyev and flight engineer Denis Matveev easily surpassed their assigned spacewalk missions in 7 hours 47 minutes International Space Station The spacewalk began at 9:25 a.m. EDT (1325 GMT).
“You have completed more than you had planned to do! It was very productive,” a representative from the Mission Control Center in Moscow told the astronauts right after the hatch was closed. (Transmission was in Russian, simultaneous translation was available in English on NASA TV.)
Working 1 hour 10 minutes ahead of schedule, Artemyev and Matveev completed several tasks to configure the European robotic arm, and completed a preparatory task to extend the Strela long boom crane between the Poisk and FGB modules on the orbital complex on the Russian side.
“These booms have a lot of inertia,” commented one spacewalker along the halfway point.
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Artemyev and Matveyev had to Go back to the airlock Early on August 17 after one of Orlan space suits I had a battery problem. (NASA hasn’t revealed how Roscosmos assessed the problem or decided to go ahead with the spacewalk; the spacesuits didn’t have power issues this time around.)
The remaining tasks were quickly completed in today’s flight, including installing a work platform on the Nauka unit, configuring a control panel and holding the arm to the “end effector”, and maneuvering some isolation between sites, among other tasks.
Besides the boom extension, a major spacewalk goal was achieved when astronauts successfully tested a mechanism intended to help the boom accommodate payloads of more than nine tons in space.
The astronauts also had a few moments of Earth viewing, including watching devastating wildfires and smoke over California. “You can see these wildfires. That’s impressive,” one of the astronauts commented before 11:20 a.m. EDT (1520 GMT), during the second hour of EVA activity.
On their previous trip on August 17, which lasted 2.5 hours, the duo had completed enough work for European observers to make their first move on the arm on August 24.
“This first movement involved unleashing the payload—the one-pin latch and adapter of the astronaut support instrument—from the Nauka, moving it to the other side of the unit and then clamping it back to the original position,” according to ESA officials. advertiser (Opens in a new tab). (Nauka is the Russian unit with which the arm was launched into space in July 2021.)
The boom moved a small suitcase-sized load during testing, but when fully ready it will be able to carry payloads weighing nearly 9 tons. Controllers are planning a more ambitious arm test in mid-September to assess brakes, joint motion, force control, and camera image quality.
NASA said Friday’s spacewalk was Artemyev’s eighth spacewalk and Matveyev’s fourth. It was also the eighth on the International Space Station in 2022 and the 253rd to support its assembly and maintenance since 1998, based on data from Previous spacewalks.
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