Cosmonauts on ISS complete spacewalk, install antenna, despite equipment challenges

exp40_olegeva38_large_0Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev waves to a video camera after exiting the Pirs docking compartment Thursday morning.

After more than 7 hours of installation and experiment chores outside the Russian portion of the International Space Station, two spacewalking cosmonauts were able to call it a day.

They installed a new antenna outside the ISS, in spite of technical challenges. On the NASA TV feed, you could hear Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemiev panting and sighing with exasperation, as they fiddled with clamps and latches. Voices from Mission Control could be heard encouraging the spacewalkers to take breaks. "Resting is most important," said a voice in Russian from Mission Control near Moscow. The spacewalk was complete at 5:33 p.m. EDT. From NASA:

They installed a communications system antenna on the conical section of the Zvezda service module. They spent a couple of hours on that task which included connecting cables, removing protective covers and photographing their work.

After competing that task and a few minutes of rest, the duo moved on to relocate a Russian experiment on Zvezda. The duo spent about an hour moving the Obstanovka experiment hardware which monitors the plasma and magnetic environment that surrounds the space station. They took pictures of the work area for later analysis on the ground.

Their next task had them translating to a crew quarters window on Zvezda where they swabbed samples for a test experiment. After a few minutes of rest during orbital night the spacewalkers removed and jettisoned an orbital debris experiment (MPAC) and a materials exposure experiment (SEED) attached to Zvezda’s large diameter aft section.

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exp40_sunriseeva38_large A sunrise is seen from the International Space Station a few minutes before the beginning of Thursday's spacewalk. Photo: NASA TV.