Friday, January 21, 2011

Cosmonauts to perform station maintenance on spacewalk

At 9:20 a.m. EST today, two Russian cosmonauts are scheduled to float outside the International Space Station's Pirs docking compartment to begin a six-hour spacewalk.

Expedition 26 flight engineers Dmitry Kondratyev and Oleg Skripochka plan to deploy an antenna and route cabling to complete an experimental data transmission system, retrieve two experiments and install a docking port camera.

You can watch live coverage of the spacewalk here starting at 9 a.m. by clicking on the NASA TV box at right to launch a video player.

Kondratyev, making his first spacewalk, will wear an Orlan-MK spacesuit marked with red stripes. It will be the second spacewalk for Skripochka, whose will wear a suit with blue stripes and a NASA-provided helmet camera.

Station commander Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri will be seated in their Soyuz 24 spacecraft during the spacewalk, a precaution in case of a sudden depressurization.

American Cady Coleman and Italian Paolo Nespoli will work from the U.S. segment with access to their Soyuz 25 lifeboat if necessary.

Kondratyev and Skripochka are expected to perform another spacewalk together Feb. 16, when they will install science experiments.

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