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Station Cosmonauts Complete Spacewalk

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:30 am via: NASA
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International Space Station Expedition 30 Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov wrapped up a six-hour, 15-minute spacewalk at 3:46 p.m. EST Thursday.

The two spacewalkers moved the Strela-1 crane from the Pirs docking compartment to begin preparing the Pirs for its replacement next year with a new laboratory and docking module. Kononenko and Shkaplerov used another boom, the Strela-2, to move the hand-operated crane to the Poisk module. Both telescoping booms extend like fishing rods and are used to move massive components outside the station. This task was originally scheduled during an Expedition 28 spacewalk on Aug. 3, 2011, but was called off due to time constraints.

While Kononenko and Shkaplerov were on the exterior of Poisk, they also installed the Vinoslivost Materials Sample Experiment, which will investigate the influence of space on the mechanical properties of the materials.

The duo also collected a test sample from underneath the insulation on the Zvezda service module to search for any signs of living organisms.

The pair was unable to complete all the originally planned tasks, including the installation of five debris shields on Zvezda.

Both spacewalkers wore Russian Orlan suits bearing blue stripes and equipped with NASA helmet cameras.

This spacewalk was the 162nd in support of space station assembly and maintenance. For Kononenko, it was his third spacewalk following two in July 2008 during Expedition 17. His two previous spacewalks lasted a total of 12 hours and 12 minutes. It was Shkaplerov’s first spacewalk and the only one scheduled during Expedition 30.

Because of the location of the activities, Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin entered the Poisk module at 7:20 a.m., where they were isolated for the duration of the spacewalk with access to their Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft in the event of an emergency.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineers Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers, whose Soyuz TMA-03M is docked to the Rassvet module, were free to move about the U.S. segment of the complex.

Kuipers and Pettit began their workday Thursday setting up and activating hardware for the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System, or MARES, which enables scientists to study the effects of weightlessness on the human muscle-skeletal system. MARES also provides a means to evaluate countermeasures designed to mitigate the negative effects of long-duration spaceflight, especially muscle atrophy.

Later, Kuipers and Pettit temporarily installed and activated a spare Total Organic Carbon Analyzer. Pettit then performed maintenance on the Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor, which can detect minute quantities of harmful gases inside the station.

On Jan. 31, NASA hosted a media telecon to discuss the status of the International Space Station and the progress toward an updated launch schedule, including international partner and commercial space vehicles. International Space Station Program Manager Michael Suffredini answered reporters’ questions.

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