Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev stepped out of the International Space Station (ISI) just after 10 a.m. EDT for a six and a half hour spacewalk to deploy a Peruvian nanosatellite, among other projects, NASA reports. You can also check out NASA’s live coverage of the 181st ISI spacewalk using first-person footage from the cosmonauts’ helmet cams here. Skvortsov’s helmet cam will have an 18 in the corner Artemyev’s will have a 17 (though anyone following the ISI closely enough to care which cam their looking through probably knew that already).
Peruvian nanosatellite gets top billing, but could use a better description
The nanosatellite that the pair released is part of a National University of Engineering in Peru project to give the university more experience with cutting edge satellite and communications technology, even though NASA’s description of what the satellite will do (“take pictures of the Earth with a pair of cameras”) isn’t terribly exciting.
Cosmonauts rounding up samples from multiple experiments
Skvortsov and Artemyev, who have been on the ISI since March 27, will also build on the Zvezda service module that they installed during their June 19 spacewalk, adding a handrail clamp holder for the module’s Automatic Phased Array antenna and installing the European Space Agency’s EXPOSE-R2 experiment package that will study biomaterials and extremophiles (organisms, mostly bacteria, that can survive in the most extreme conditions) in preparation for more ambitious projects on Mars in the future.
The cosmonauts will then visit the Poisk Mini Research Module-2 to install a new device called the Plume Impingement and Deposit Monitoring unit and swap out cassettes containing different materials as part of an ongoing program of studying the effects of exposure to space on a wide variety of materials. They will also retrieve samples from the Vinoslivost payload and the Biorisk experiment container, which specifically looks at the effects of different microbes on spacecraft.
In what sounds more like maintenance than science, the pair will also take surface samples from the window on the Zvevda service module along with a few pictures of the insulation, presumably to check how much wear and tear there has been