Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov conducted a spacewalk on Friday (3) to prepare the new Nauka module for operations on the International Space Station. The spacewalk began Friday at 10:41 am and ended at 6:35 pm (Russian time), lasting seven hours and 54 minutes.
It is the first of what could be up to 11 spacewalks taken by cosmonauts while working on the Nauka, a multipurpose laboratory module that includes additional space for research and dormitories. The next spacewalk, which is expected to take about five hours, is scheduled for 9 September.
In July, Russia’s newly attached Nauka module accidentally fired its thrusters, sending the space station out of control. At the time, three NASA astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts, a Japanese astronaut and a European Space Agency astronaut were on board.
Dmitry Rogozin, director general of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, told CNN: “We had a problem,” which he blamed on human error.
Nauka was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 21 July and docked on 29 July.
During Friday’s spacewalk, Novitskiy and Dubrov connected power, ethernet and data cables between Nauka and the Russian service module Zvezda. The two cosmonauts will install handrails and complete any remaining tasks for cable routing work during the September 9th spacewalk.
Outputs will be the second and third spacewalks to Dubrov and Novitskiy, as well as the 242nd and 243rd spacewalks in support of space station assembly, maintenance and upgrade.
Meanwhile, a spacewalk then scheduled for Aug. 24, which would include NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, will now take place on Sept. 12 – with some changes.
The August spacewalk was postponed a day before it took place due to what NASA described as a “minor medical problem” experienced by Vande Hei.
While no additional details about this issue – other than the fact that it wasn’t a medical emergency – have been shared, Vande Hei will now provide internal support during the Sept. 12 spacewalk as he continues to recover.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet will take his place alongside Hoshide. During the walk, Hoshide and Pesquet will install a modification kit that will prepare for the future work of installing the Roll-Out Solar Array.
This will be the first spacewalk conducted outside the orbital lab’s pressurized Quest chamber by two international partner astronauts on the space station, according to NASA.
A 360 degree virtual reality camera will film Hoshide and Pesquet during their spacewalk.
*Kristin Fisher, from CNN, contributed to this report.
(Translated text. Read the original in English here.)