Two cosmonauts returned to action on Friday (September 2), more than making up for a spacewalk canceled two weeks ago.
Expedition 67 commander Oleg Artemyev and flight engineer Denis Matveev easily surpassed their assigned spacewalk time of 7 hours and 47 minutes International Space Station Spacewalk that began at 9:25 am EDT (1325 GMT).
“You did more than you set out to do! Very productive,” a representative from Moscow Mission Control told the cosmonauts shortly after they closed the hatch. (The transmission was in Russian; an English translation was available on NASA TV.)
Artemyev and Matveev worked up to an hour and 10 minutes ahead of schedule, completing numerous tasks to configure the European robotic arm and an advance task to deploy the long Strela jib crane between the Poisk and FGB modules on the perimeter complex on the Russian side .
“These booms have a lot of inertia,” commented one of the astronauts mid-extension.
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Artemyev and Matveev had it Go back to the airlock Early Aug. 17 after one of the orlan space suits had a battery problem. (NASA did not disclose how Roscosmos assessed the issue or decided to proceed with spacewalks; the spacesuits had no power issues this time.)
They quickly completed the remaining tasks on today’s field trip, including installing a work platform on the Nauka module, configuring a control panel and the arm’s gripping “end effector”, and maneuvering some insulation between sites, among other tasks.
In addition to lengthening the boom, a key spacewalk goal was achieved when the spacewalkers successfully tested a mechanism that would help the arm grip payloads in excess of nine tons in space.
The cosmonauts also had a few moments to see Earth, including observing devastating wildfires and smoke over California. “You can see these wildfires. That’s impressive,” one of the astronauts commented just before 11:20 a.m. EDT (1520 GMT) during the second hour of spacewalk activity.
On their last outing on 8/17, which lasted 2.5 hours, the duo put in enough work for European controllers to make the first move on the arm on August 17. 24
“That first move consisted of releasing the payload — a single-pin latch and its cosmonaut support tool adapter — from Nauka, moving it to the other side of the module, and then reinstalling it in its original position,” European officials said space organization specified (opens in new tab). (Nauka is the Russian module that launched the arm into space in July 2021.)
The arm was moving a payload about the size of a small suitcase during testing, but when fully ready it will be capable of lifting payloads weighing almost 9 tons. Controllers are planning a more ambitious arm test in mid-September to assess the brakes, joint movement, power control and camera image quality.
Friday’s spacewalk was the eighth spacewalk for Artemyev and the fourth for Matveev, NASA said. It was also the eighth on the ISS in 2022 and the 253rd since 1998 to support its assembly and maintenance, based on data from previous spacewalks.