A troubled Russian based EVA has concluded today at 5:13pm EDT.
Russian ISS Crewmembers Sergey Volkov and Alexander Samokutyaev ‘stepped’ out of the hatch at 10:50am EDT, 20 Minutes after the originally scheduled EVA start time.
The first task for both spacewalkers was the deployment of a small satellite, called ARISSat-1/Radioskaf-V. Both spacewalkers went into the proper position to release the satellite by hand. Just when they wanted to push the satellite away at a speed of 1 m/s, the ground team stopped them because an antenna of the satellite was missing. The satellite has two communication systems that require two antannas. One UHF-System that receives commands/data from the ground and a VHF-System that transmits data to the ground. That data is scientific data from the single experiment of the satellite and still images that are taken by cameras that are also on the satellite. The UHF system was also designed to enable ham radio operators on the ground to communicate to each other via this satellite.
Ground controllers decided to put the satellite to a temporary location while teams discuss the issue.
Volkov and Samokutyaev pressed ahead with the next task of the EVA, already being behind their timeline. They translated to the next worksite and installed a laser communication system that will be tested as a high bandwidth communication system between the ground and russian experiments. That installation went well, the ground was able to see good telementry from the installed electronics box as soon as connections were made. As part of that procedure, some pieces of Insulation were jettisoned and will reamin in orbit for a few months before deorbiting.
The cosmonauts transitioned to their next task. They took photos of an antenna that is not working properly to give technicians on the ground the opportunity to diagnose the problem. After that, they got the news that the nanosatellite was going to be deployed after all. The missing antenna turned out to be the UHF antenna for uplink connections. The satellite will fulfill the major part of its tasks, however data uplink might be difficult or impossible. It was jettisoned at 2:43pm EDT and floated away from the International Space Station.
The next task of the EVA was going to be the main focus of the spacewalk, but teams decided to cancel this relocation of a STRELA boom due to the time is would have consumed. The crew removed a Kurs antenna that is used for the automatic docking system on russian vehicles. It was moved to the airlock and brought back inside after the EVA concluded.
Komplast, a russian materials experiment similar to the MISSE Payloads known from several Space Shuttle Missions, was installed next. Photos of it were taken and the next task, the installation of the Biorisk Microbial Experiment Payload was performed as well.
When all that was complete, the spacewalkers moved on to the final item for the EVA. They retrieved photos of three influencial Russian engineers/astronauts, Yuri Gagarin, Sergei Korolev, and Konstantin Tsiolkovski. The photos were taken and the crew went back inside the Airlock to wrap up this eventful EVA.
The hatch was closed at 5:13pm EDT. The official duration of the excursion is 6 hours and 23 minutes.
It was Sergey Volkov’s thrid spacewalk, he has 18 hours and 35 minutes of EVA time under his belt. now Samokutyaev performed his first EVA today. In total, it was the 161st Spacewalk dedicated to ISS Assembly and Maintenance, the 29th Russian based Station EVA. 1,015 hours and 32 minutes of EVA time have been spent on the Internation Space Station now. This EVA marked the 136th Russian EVA in history. It was the second Spacewalk of Expedition 28, totaling 12 hours and 54 minutes for this particular expedition.
Images: NASA TV