KOROLEV (Moscow region), August 4 (Itar-Tass) — Russian cosmonauts Sergei Volkov and Alexander Samokutyayev has fulfilled almost all the tasks of this year’s second EVA under the Russian program and returned to the International Space Station (ISS).
An official of the Mission Control Centre (MCC) outside Moscow told Itar-Tass that “at 01:13 MSK the cosmonauts entered the Pirs module and closed the hatches.” Thus, they worked in space for six hours.
Other members of the crew of ISS Expedition 28 – Russian Andrei Borisenko, NASA astronauts Ronald Garan, Michael Fossum, Japanese Space Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa – met the colleagues at the station. For safety consideration, they were divided into two groups and moved to the Russian Poisk (Search or MIM-2) module and to the American segment, so that to have access in case of emergency to their “life boats” – the Soyuz TMA-21 and Soyuz TMA-2M spacecraft.
The spacewalk program was very busy, intense and, unfortunately, not without faults. First, Volkov and Samokutyayev took the student micro-satellite Kedr (Cedar) from the Pirs module, activated the unit and uncovered solar panels, but its launch was postponed because of the absence of one of the antennas on the craft. The satellite was transported back to the entrance gateway. Late, MCC experts decided to launch Kedr all the same. In addition to publicly available scientific and telemetry data the satellite will transmit voice greetings in several languages on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight.
Moving to the Zvezda service module, the astronauts installed on its exterior and connected a mono block of the onboard laser communication terminal, dismantled a unit one of the antennas and photographed another antenna. For lack of time because of the delay in launching the Kedr satellite the astronauts failed to move the derrick from the Pirs docking module to the Poisk small laboratory module. This operation, intended to free the Pirs module from the payload equipment, as the module will be later undocked from the ISS and sunk in the Pacific, will be performed during subsequent spacewalks, MCC explained.
Kedr (Yuri Gagarin’s callsign during the Vostok 1 mission) also known as ARISSat 1 and RadioSkaf-2, is an amateur radio mini-satellite operated by RKK Energia as part of the Amateur Radio on the ISS and RadioSkaf programs. A follow-up to the SuitSat spacecraft, Kedr was launched to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Vostok 1 mission. Kedr will transmit 25 greetings in 15 different languages. It will also transmit photos of the Earth, telemetry and scientific data. It will transmit voice, telemetry and slow-scan television data on a frequency of 145.950 MHz. The satellite is also intended for use in educational programs. Kedr is a 30-kilogram (66 lb) satellite measuring 55 centimetres (22 in) by 55 centimetres (22 in) by 40 centimetres (16 in). It carries solar cells to generate power, and is expected to operate for six months. For launch, Kedr was stored aboard the Progress M-09M spacecraft, which was launched to resupply the ISS. Progress M-09M was launched atop a Soyuz-U carrier rocket flying from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 01:31:39 UTC on 28 January 2011. It docked with the International Space Station at 02:39 UTC on 30 January.
Next, the astronauts, having photographed panels with samples of the Komplast materials, began to mount on the exterior surface of the Zvezda service module a platform with three containers of Biorisk-MSN equipment. In the special containers that had been delivered to orbit in late April on board the Progress cargo ship, scientists “settled” bacteria and fungi. Studies of the existence of living organisms in the open space will help to solve important for future interplanetary missions problem of planetary quarantine and protection, stressed Natalya Novikova, the head of the Biorisk-MSN experiment. It is not excluded that in the near future scientists will be able to find the answer to the question of whether it is possible to deliver live objects to another planet without hampering evolutionary development of the local ecosystem. “It is equally important, from the viewpoint of people on Earth, to understand if it is possible to deliver to Earth organisms from other planets or Earth organisms that have been in outer space that can mutate,” the scientist said.
At the end of EVA the cosmonauts had a “photo shoot” with portraits of the founders of the world cosmonautics – Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Sergei Korolev, as well as the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who performed his flight 50 years ago. Volkov and Samokutyaev took out the three portraits of A4 format, photographed images of the “fathers” of space industry against the background of the Earth, which at that time was within good visibility zone from the ISS. They did not have to fix the portraits on the exterior surface of the station, because one of the cosmonauts held the portraits, while another, taking position at the exit from the Pirs airlock, was taking photographs. After completing the PR action, Volkov and Samokutyaev moved inside the station and closed the hatches.