Science

Russian spacewalkers tested a European robotic arm on the space station on Friday

The two cosmonauts returned to combat on Friday (September 2), more than making up for the spacewalk aborted two weeks earlier.

Expedition 67 Commander Oleg Artemiev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev easily exceeded their EVA targets during the 7-hour, 47-minute spacewalk of the International Space Station, which began at 9:25 a.m. EST (13 :25 GMT).

“You did more than you planned! Very productive,” a representative of the Moscow Mission Control Center told the cosmonauts immediately after they closed the hatch. (The broadcast was in Russian; the translation was available in English on NASA TV.)

Working for an hour, 10 minutes ahead of schedule, Artemiev and Matveev completed many tasks to set up the European robotic arm, and also completed the advanced task of lengthening the long boom of the Strela crane between the Poisk and FGB modules at the orbital complex. Russian side.

“These arrows have a lot of inertia,” commented one of the spacewalkers in the middle of the extension.

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Artemiev and Matveev had to return to the airlock early in the morning. 17 after a battery problem occurred in one of the Orlan spacesuits. (NASA did not disclose how Roscosmos assessed the problem or decided to proceed with the spacewalk; this time, the suits had no power issues.)

The remaining tasks of today’s tour were quickly completed, including installing a work platform on the Science module, setting up the control panel and gripping “end effector” of the hand, and moving some insulation between locations, among other tasks.

In addition to extending the boom, the key goal of the spacewalk was achieved when spacewalkers successfully tested a mechanism designed to help the arm grab payloads of over nine tons in space.

The astronauts also had several moments to admire the Earth, including witnessing devastating wildfires and smoke over California. “You can see these forest fires. It’s impressive,” one spacewalker commented shortly before 11:20 am EST (1520 GMT), during the second hour of the spacewalk.

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During their previous excursion in Aug. 17, lasting 2.5 hours, the duo completed enough work for European controllers to make their first arm move on 1 August. 24.

“This first move was to release the payload — the single-pin latch and its astronaut support adapter — from Nauka, move it to the other side of the module, and then install it back to its original position,” the European Union said. space agency. (will open in a new tab). (Science is a Russian module that the hand launched into space in July 2021.)

During the tests, the arm moved a payload the size of a small suitcase, but when it is fully completed, it will be able to lift a payload weighing almost 9 tons. In mid-September, controllers are planning more ambitious tests of the hand to evaluate brakes, joint mobility, force control, and camera image quality.

Friday’s spacewalk was Artemiev’s eighth and Matveev’s fourth, NASA said. It was also the eighth on the ISS in 2022 and the 253rd, supporting its assembly and maintenance since 1998, based on data from previous spacewalks.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace (will open in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) or facebook (will open in a new tab).

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