Russian Cosmonauts Complete Spacewalk To Set Up 37-Foot-Long Robotic Arm

Spacewalkers Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev Configure New Robotic Arm

Spacewalkers Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev configure new robotic arm components on the Nauka multiupurpose laboratory module. Credit: NASA

Expedition 67 Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev of Roscosmos concluded their spacewalk at 5:37 p.m. EDT today (April 18, 2022) after 6 hours and 37 minutes. Russian spacewalk 52 began at 11:01 a.m. EDT to activate a new robotic arm attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module at the International Space Station by opening the hatch of the Poisk docking compartment airlock.

Russian cosmonauts Artemyev and Matveev completed their major objectives for today in which they installed and connected a control panel for the European robotic arm, a 37-foot-long manipulator system mounted to the recently arrived Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. They also removed protective covers from the arm and installed handrails on Nauka. The arm will be used to move spacewalkers and payloads around the Russian segment of the station.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Alexander Skvortsov Spacewalk 2014

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Alexander Skvortsov are pictured during a spacewalk in 2014 outside the space station’s Russian segment. Credit: NASA

For this spacewalk, Artemyev was wearing a Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes. Matveev was wearing a spacesuit with blue stripes. It was the fourth spacewalk in Artemyev’s career, and the first for Matveev. It will be the fourth spacewalk at the station in 2022 and the 249th spacewalk for space station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades.

During the next Russian spacewalk scheduled for Thursday, April 28, the duo will jettison thermal blankets used to protect the arm during its July 2021 launch with Nauka. They will also flex the arm’s joints, release launch restraints, and monitor the arm’s ability to use two grapple fixtures.

Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev ISS Spacewalk

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev works outside the International Space Station during a spacewalk that took place in 2014 when he was an Expedition 40 Flight Engineer. Credit: NASA

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

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