Two Russians turn cable guys in record spacewalk (Update)

Aug 16, 2013 by Marcia Dunn
In this image from video made available by NASA, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin participates in a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013. Yurchikhin and Aleksandr Misurkin are to install cabling for a new lab due to arrive at the station in a few months. (AP Photo/NASA)

In a record-long spacewalk, Russian cosmonauts rigged cable outside the International Space Station on Friday for a new lab that's due to arrive in a few months.

Fyodor Yurchikhin and Aleksandr Misurkin spent almost the entire seven-hour-plus spacewalk routing 120 feet (36 meters) of power and Ethernet cable. The cable had to be unreeled, then meticulously secured to handrails and hooks.

"Today we are the cable people," one of the spacewalkers commented in Russian as the work drew to a close.

The spacewalk lasted seven hours and 29 minutes, a full hour longer than originally planned in order for the two to get a jump on work awaiting them in yet another outing next Thursday.

It was the longest spacewalk ever by a pair of Russians, surpassing the former record of seven hours and 16 minutes set at the old Mir space station in 1990.

Americans hold the overall record: a nearly nine-hour spacewalk in 2001.

Friday's spacewalk occurred exactly one month after an Italian astronaut almost drowned when leaking water flooded his helmet during a spacewalk.

Luca Parmitano's spacesuit was provided by NASA. Friday's spacewalkers wore Russian-made suits that differ from the U.S. version.

NASA is still investigating last month's close call. The problem appears to be in the life-support backpack. The spacesuit will be sent back for analysis early next year. Until the trouble is identified and resolved, U.S. spacewalks are on hold.

To reach the cable work site on Friday, Yurchikhin hitched a ride on the end of a 46-foot (14-meter) boom operated by Misurkin.

When Yurchikhin asked if he was positioned properly on the boom, Misurkin assured him, "You look great. You look perfect."

"Thank you," Yurchikhin replied. "I don't want to blush."

"It just looks like you're in space," Misurkin said. "Everything is black around you."

The Russian Space Agency plans to launch a new science lab by year's end. It's the last major piece due at the orbiting outpost, active since 1998, and will replace a 12-year-old Russian docking compartment that doubles as an air lock.

Friday's excursion was the third of six Russian spacewalks planned for this year.

The four other space station residents—two Americans, another Russian and Italy's Parmitano—monitored Friday's spacewalk from inside. Russian Mission Control outside Moscow directed the operation.

Explore further: Ceres bright spots sharpen but questions remain

Related Stories

NASA launches new probe of spacesuit failure

Jul 23, 2013

The US space agency said Tuesday it is launching a second investigation into a leaking helmet that forced an abrupt halt to an Italian astronaut's spacewalk last week.

Recommended for you

New project aims to establish a human colony on Mars

8 minutes ago

MarsPolar, a newly started international venture is setting its sights on the Red Planet. The project consisting of specialists from Russia, United Arab Emirates, Poland, U.S. and Ukraine has come up with a bol ...

Ceres bright spots sharpen but questions remain

20 hours ago

The latest views of Ceres' enigmatic white spots are sharper and clearer, but it's obvious that Dawn will have to descend much lower before we'll see crucial details hidden in this overexposed splatter of ...

Rosetta's view of a comet's "great divide"

21 hours ago

The latest image to be revealed of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comes from October 27, 2014, before the Philae lander even departed for its surface. Above we get a view of a dramatically-shadowed cliff ...

How long will our spacecraft survive?

21 hours ago

There are many hazards out there, eager to disrupt and dismantle the mighty machines we send out into space. How long can they survive to perform their important missions?

Why roundworms are ideal for space studies

21 hours ago

Humans have long been fascinated by the cosmos. Ancient cave paintings show that we've been thinking about space for much of the history of our species. The popularity of recent sci-fi movies suggest that ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.