Friday, June 05, 2009

Space Station Spacewalk Underway Today

Two of the six crew members aboard the international space station stepped outside to perform some installation work to prepare a Russian service module for the arrival of a new docking module this November.

Today's planned five and one-half hour spacewalk began at 3:52 am EDT, this morning as station Russian commander Gennady Padalka and American Michael Barratt left the Russian side of the orbital outpost in space. The spacewalk began late due to increased levels of carbon dioxide in their Russian Orlan space suits.

Once outside the Russian Zvezda module, the pair began work to install a few antennas and string cables which will be used in support of an automatic docking module's own docking on November 12th. Known as MRM 2, the new Soyuz launched docking module will give the station another docking port for the many unmanned international space vessels which will ferry supplies and equipment to the orbital outpost.

As the space station sails in the Autumn of 2009, traffic will increase as the Japanese and Russians send unmanned supply ships to and from station followed by a space shuttle flight in November.

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