Friday, December 27, 2013

Russian Cosmonauts Taking 7-Hour Spacewalk Outside Station

Two Russian cosmonauts are tackling a seven-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station today (Dec. 27) to install commercial high-resolution cameras and other new experiments on the orbiting lab's hull. You can watch the spacewalk live here in the window above.

Today's spacewalk began at about 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) and is being performed by Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy.

The two spacewalkers will install two high-fidelity cameras on the Earth-facing side of the station's Russian-built Zvezda service module for the commercial Earth imagery company Urthecast (pronounced Earthcast), which seeks to offer live HD webcasts of Earth from space via an online service.

Today's spacewalk is unrelated to two earlier spacewalks by American astronauts to replace a coolant pump on the space station.

Kotov and Ryazanskiy will also install hardware for a new earthquake-monitoring experiment, called Seismoprognoz, and remove and older experiment that tracked the seismic effects of high-energy particles in the near-Earth environment, NASA officials said.

That older experiment, called Vsplesk, will be tossed into space in a direction that won't endanger the space station so it can burn up in Earth's atmosphere.

The spacewalkers will also dispose of a frame to an old material exposure experiment and retrieve a case of samples from a materials space exposure experiment during their work outside the International Space Station.

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