Highly experienced Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and debut spacewalker Alexander Misurkin conducted an EVA lasting over six hours on the outside of the International Space Station on Monday. The duo conducted a large array of tasks, including the replacement of a fluid flow regulator on the Russian segment’s Zarya module.
Russian EVA 33 – Refer to Live Coverage link for up-to-the-minute coverage:
Yurchikhin is currently conducting his fourth mission to the ISS, following his debut ride to the orbital outpost on Shuttle Atlantis during her STS-112 mission. He arrived for his latest mission to the ISS on Soyuz TMA-09M in May, following the utilization of the new fast rendezvous technique, that resulted in a new record for launch to docking for a crewed spacecraft.
The 54 year old veteran has already amassed nearly 32 hours of EVA time under his belt, ahead of RS-33.
First time flyer Misurkin hails from Yershichi, in the Smolensk Oblast region of Russia. The 35 year old was selected as a cosmonaut in 2006 after a career as a Major in the Russian Air Force. He arrived as a new ISS crewmember in March, onboard Soyuz TMA-08M.
During the extended EVA – which began at 9:31am Eastern – Yurchikhin and Misurkin had the primary task of replacing a fluid flow regulator to carry out on the Zarya module.
With a pressurized container in tow, the new valve was installed on the Russian module, before the old replaced flow control valve was placed inside the then-empty container, ahead of being taken into the Pirs airlock.
They also removed the Photon-Gamma unit of the Molina-Gamma experiment, which measures gamma splashes and optical radiation during terrestrial lightning and thunder conditions, from a portable workstation on Zvezda.
A test of the station’s KURS equipment, which is used to control the automatic docking of Russian Progress resupply ships, was also conducted – following the successful work on four associated connections early into the EVA.
Additional tasks included photographing the multilayer insulation (MLI) protecting the Russian segment from micrometeoroids and taking samples from the exterior surface of the pressure hull underneath the MLI to identify signs of pressure hull material microscopic deterioration. They also installed the “Indicator” experiment.
The duo were also tasked with installing gap spanners on to the outside of the Station, which proved to be troublesome, and partly responsible for the additional time on the EVA. Two of the gap spanner installations were deferred to the next Russian EVA.
The spacewalk was the 169th in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the sixth for Yurchikhin and the first for Misurkin. Yurchikhin wore an Orlan-MK spacesuit with red stripes while Misurkin wore a suit with blue stripes.
Both spacewalkers were equipped with NASA helmet cameras to provide close-up views of their work.
The EVA concluded after six hours and 34 minutes.
This was the second of up to six Russian spacewalks planned for this year, with the previous – RS-32 – performed by cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Roman Romanenko back in April.
Two US spacewalks – to be conducted by NASA’s Chris Cassidy and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency – are scheduled in July.
The first of the two US EVAs in close succession will be US EVA-21, which will focus on routing power cables in preparation for the planned Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), which will replace the Pirs Docking Compartment in late 2013.
During this EVA, Cassidy and Parmitano will remove and replace a Space-to-Ground Transmitter Receiver Controller, install a radiator grapple bar and retrieve a mast camera from the Mobile Base System. They also will install the first of two jumper cables on the Z1 truss.
Their final tasks will include the retrieval of samples from the Materials International Space Station Experiment and the Optical Reflector Materials Experiment. If time permits, a variety of “get-ahead” tasks could be performed, including temporary cable stowage, releasing clamps on the S1 truss and relocating an articulating portable foot restraint.
Cassidy and Parmitano will again venture outside of the Quest Airlock just four days later, conducting the EVA-22 tasks that includes work to remove alignment guides from the radiator grapple bars and move them to External Stowage Platform-2 (ESP-2).
Next on the list will be work to route networking cables to the upcoming MLM location and remove insulation from one of the station’s Main Bus Switching Units.
After installing a second Z1 truss jumper cable, the two astronauts will work to replace a camera on the Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility and install cables for the fixed grapple bar’s module’s power and data grapple fixture.
Their final task will be to relocate the Wireless External Transceiver Assembly and the Video Stanchion Support Assembly from Camera Port 8 to Camera Port 11 on the truss.
If time permits, the two spacewalkers will work to finish up get-ahead tasks from the previous spacewalk including the release of clamps on the S1 truss and relocating an articulating portable foot restrain.
Two more EVAs, to be conducted by Yurchikhin and Misurkin, will round off a busy Expedition 35-36 on the ISS.
(Images: L2’s ISS Section and NASA)
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