Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cosmonauts Complete Successful Station Spacewalk

A new docking port is ready to receive spacecraft at the International Space Station after a spacewalk aimed at outfitting a newly arrived Russian module for service at the outpost.

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Max Suraev rigged up communications cables and antennas on the exterior of the Poisk, or "Search," module, which was launched up to the station late last year. The cosmonauts also set up a docking target on the module, which will double as an extra airlock.

Suraev and U.S. astronaut Jeff Williams will move their Soyuz spacecraft to the zenith, or space-facing berthing port on Poisk next Thursday -- the first operational use of the new docking compartment.

Kotov and Suraev also retrieved a science experiment canister on their way back into the almost identical Pirs, or "Port" docking compartment at the end of the five-hour, 44-minute excursion.

The spacewalk was the 137th to be carried out in the assembly and maintenance of the station.

Astronauts and cosmonauts now have tallied 855 hours and two minutes of spacewalking work at the outpost since the first two building blocks of the station were linked in low Earth orbit in late 1998.

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