Two Russian cosmonauts, both members of Expedition 32 on the International Space Station, carried out a spacewalk, which began on Monday 20th, at 13:37 GMT. This marked the first spacewalk of the Expedition. During the five-hour, 51 minute extravehicular activity (EVA) Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko completed a long list of tasks outside the station and enjoyed the view of this unique environment.
“It’s light now … beautiful,” Padalka said in Russian, which was translated in a NASA broadcast. “Wow, what a beautiful view.”
This was the 163rd EVA from the station, this time to perform a series of upgrades and maintenance to the International Space Station. It was the ninth spacewalk for the veteran spacewalker Padalka and the fifth for Malenchenko.
Space.com states that, due to a leaky valve on the Russian module, the cosmonauts were delayed in starting their mission. By skipping breaks, the pair nevertheless finished their tasks an hour ahead of schedule. Their main task was to relocate the Strela-2 crane from the Pirs docking compartment to the Zarya control module. The relocation of the crane was an important step in preparing Pirs for the docking of the new Russian multipurpose orbital laboratory module, which will be delivered to the station in 2013. They also installed new debris shields on the Zvezda service module. At the end of the EVA, Padalka tossed a 9 kilogram (20 pound) spherical satellite into orbit to conduct Russian space tracking experiments. It is expected that the small satellite stays in orbit for approximately three months before re-entry and will provide data on how space debris re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
NASA Flight Engineer Sunita Williams and JAXA Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide will perform the second spacewalk of this mission on August 30.
Watch part of the EVA below: