On August 16, International Space Station cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin performed an 7 hour 29 minute extravehicular activity (EVA), preparing for installation of the new Russian Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module due to arrive later this year. It will replace the Pirs docking module, the oldest segment of ISS and now 15 years old.
The EVA ran longer than the intended 6.5 hours due to a decision to retract the Strela crane that the cosmonauts had used for maneuvering during their work. Stowing the crane had been an optional activity that could have been left until the next scheduled EVA on Aug. 22. Incidentally, the additional task extended the total duration of the EVA past the 23 year record of 7 hours 16 minutes for a Russian EVA.
As Space.com reports:
NASA spokesman Rob Navias said the cosmonauts broke a Russian spacewalking record that had stood for 23 years. Before Friday, the longest spacewalk by two Russian cosmonauts was seven hours and 16 minutes. It occurred on July, 17 1990 and was performed by cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyev and Alekandr Balandin to repair thermal protection gear on Russia’s Mir Space Station.
Yurchikhin, on his seventh career EVA, is no stranger to long spacewalks. In 2007, he spend 7 hours 41 minutes outside the station with NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson. The longest spacewalk in history also occurred outside ISS: it lasted 8 hours and 56 minutes.
This was the first EVA after a near-disastrous spacewalk on July 16 when ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s helmet filled with water. The cosmonauts wore Russian Orlan suits of a completely different design than the NASA EMU suits that are still off-limits pending an investigation into Parmitano’s EMU 3011.