Russian spacewalk prepares space station for new module

Two Russian cosmonauts have conducted a six-hour 48-minute spacewalk to prepare the International Space Station for a new module.

“The main task of the exit was to prepare the station for the arrival of the Nauka module: for this, the cosmonauts switched the Transit-B antenna of the telemetry system from the Pirs module to Poisk,” Russian space agency Roscosmos said in a tweet on Thursday.

“Then they changed the position of the sensors of the pressure and deposition control unit.”

Roscosmos is planning to launch the Nauka module, also called the Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module, in 2021, Space.com reported.

The new module will take the place of the Pirs module.

For the spacewalk, Expedition 64 Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos opened the hatch to the Poisk module‘s airlock to begin the spacewalk at 10.12 a.m. EST on Wednesday.

They re-entered the airlock and closed the hatch at 5 p.m. EST (3.30 a.m. Thursday India time), NASA said in a blog post.

During the spacewalk, the duo inspected the Poisk airlock for leaks, relocated an antenna from the Pirs module to Poisk, retrieved hardware that measures space debris impacts, and repositioned an instrument used to measure the residue from thruster firings.

Additionally, the team retrieved and installed an impact tray on the Zvezda service module and took photos of the plume deflectors.

The cosmonauts deferred the task of replacing the fluid flow regulator on the Zarya module to a future spacewalk.

It was the 232nd spacewalk in support of the International Space Station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades, the eighth spacewalk of 2020, and the first spacewalk for both Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov.