Space

Cosmonauts Set Up Robotic Arm’s First Motion During Spacewalk Outside ISS

Spacewalkers Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev Robotic Arm

Spacewalkers Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev monitor the station’s new European robotic arm as it moves on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Credit: NASA

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev of Roscosmos concluded their spacewalk outside of the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday (April 28, 2022) at  6:40 p.m. EDT after 7 hours and 42 minutes.

Artemyev and Matveev completed their major objectives during the spacewalk, which included monitoring the first commanded movements of the robotic arm from its grapple fixtures after removing thermal blankets and launch locks. The duo monitored the robotic arm as its end effectors translated one at a time to new base points. The crew also installed more handrails on Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

The Prichal docking and the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module figure prominently in this image taken during a January 19, 2022, spacewalk with cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov (at bottom of Prichal) and Pyotr Dubrov (at top of Prichal) who outfitted both modules to integrate with the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Shortly after the spacewalk ended, cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov completed the grapple of the second of the two end effectors on the new European Robotic Arm to a grapple mechanism on the Nauka module to successfully wrap up the major tasks of the excursion.

This was the fifth spacewalk in Artemyev’s career, and the second for Matveev. It was the fifth spacewalk at the station in 2022 and the 250th spacewalk for space station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades.

Roscosmos cosmonaut and Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov (upper right) works outside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module during a spacewalk on January 19, 2022, that lasted seven hours and 11 minutes. Attached to Nauka at the bottom, is the Prichal docking module that was configured and activated during the spacewalk with fellow cosmonaut and Expedition 66 Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov (out of frame). Credit: NASA

Additional spacewalks are planned to continue outfitting the European robotic arm and to activate Nauka’s airlock for future spacewalks.

The Nauka multipurpose laboratory module with the docked Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured as the International Space Station orbited 265 miles above the Pacific Ocean into an orbital sunset on October 14, 2021. Credit: NASA

Nauka, also known as the Multipurpose Laboratory Module-Upgrade (MLM-U) or simply Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), launched on July 21, 2021, and successfully docked to the ISS on July 29, 2021. It is the primary laboratory of the Russian Orbital Segment, operating in conjunction with the Mini-Research Modules Rassvet and Poisk. It is used to conduct experiments and store scientific instruments, and can also serve as a backup service module for the International Space Station.

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