After the successful replacement of a faulty ammonia coolant pump module on Christmas eve by US astronauts, a pair of Russian cosmonauts wrapped up a record eight-hour spacewalk on Dec 27 – in a bid to install photographic equipment on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS).
Commander Oleg Kotov and flight engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy installed a pair of high-fidelity cameras as part of a Canadian commercial endeavour designed to downlink Earth observation imagery, said NASA in a press release.
They, however, had to remove them later due to an unspecified problem that prevented telemetry from being received on the ground by the Russian flight controllers.
In addition to their work with the two cameras, the spacewalkers also removed the Vsplesk experiment package and jettisoned it.
Vsplesk, installed during an Expedition 17 spacewalk in July 2008, was designed to monitor seismic effects using high-energy particle streams in the near-earth environment.
Kotov and Ryazanskiy replaced it with hardware for a more sophisticated earthquake-monitoring experiment, Seismoprognoz, which they attached to a Zvezda handrail.
Kotov and Ryazanskiy returned to the airlock for further analysis of cameras. The spacewalkers also were instructed to take detailed photographs of the electrical connectors mated earlier for additional review, the release added.
This spacewalk eclipsed the record for the longest Russian spacewalk set by Expedition 36 Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin, who conducted a 7-hour, 29 minute excursion Aug 16, added the release.
This was the 177th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance, totalling 1,115 hours, 44 minutes, and the 11th spacewalk this year.