2 Russian cosmonauts turn cable guys in spacewalk

August 16, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Spacewalking 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 hitched a ride to the work site on the end of a 46-foot boom operated by his spacewalking partner, Aleksandr Misurkin. Two big reels of power and Ethernet cable accompanied Yurchikhin.

Yurchikhin asked his partner if he was positioned properly on the boom.

"You look great," Misurkin assured him. "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."

They secured the cables to the space station, using handrails and hooks.

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.

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.

This is the third of six Russian spacewalks planned for this year. The next one is next Thursday, again by Yurchikhin and Misurkin. The two cosmonauts teamed up for a spacewalk in June.

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


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