Two Russian Astronauts Launch Small Satellite from Outside ISS
A spacewalk has been conducted by two Russian astronauts in a bid to launch a small satellite for a University in Peru, install science experiments and complete some housekeeping chores.
Flight engineers Oleg Artemyev and Aleksandr Skvortsov released the baby satellite, named Chasqui I, from outside the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.
The two astronauts have set up the spacewalk on Monday and Artemyev stood on a ladder outside the station's Pirs airlock to release a 2.2-pound (1-kg), 4-inch (10-cm) cube-shaped satellite. The satellite has been built by students at the National University of Engineering in Lima, Peru.
The launch of the satellite was broadcasted live on NASA Television and the satellite was showed tumbling away from the back of the orbiting laboratory as it sailed about 260 miles (418 km) above the southern Pacific Ocean.
Skvortsov later joined Artemyev to complete the task of installing a European package of experiments, comprising biomaterials and extremophiles. These organisms are capable of living in extremely hostile environments.
The duo also performed a spacewalk in June to attach a communications antenna and this time they have installed a reinforcing clamp for it. Other astronauts at the ISS include US astronauts Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson, European astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev.
The latest spacewalk conducted by the two Russian cosmonauts will help scientists gain insight into how the organisms are able to survive the highly radioactive and extreme temperatures of space. As a result, they will be able to devise life-detection techniques for future robotic Mars missions. Also, the pair of Russian cosmonauts is setting up an experiment to figure out how parts of station are getting affected by rocket engine burns. The six-hour spacewalk began at shortly after 10 a. m. EDT.
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