This week was full of suspense for the crew of the astronaut who lived on board the International Space Station (ISS), about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the earth.
Two crewmembers, Sergey Prokopyev and Oleg Artemyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, conducted a marathon spacewalk that lasted almost eight hours, and completed a series of tasks in the name of science, reports Space.com .
The two reasons outside the space station on August 15 to release four small satellites in space and install the antenna for a German-Russian bird tracking experiment called ICARUS (International cooperation for animal research using space), notes Phys.org .
"Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev completed a spacewalk on Wednesday to deploy nano-satellites, install and retrieve scientific experiments, & # 39; the ISS & # 39; Twitter account announced yesterday with the hashtag # ICYMI (In Case You Missed It).
[1 9459006] Unexpected delays
The duo opened the Pirs section of the Russian Zvezda module at 12:17 pm EDT, with a delay of 20 minutes from the original schedule, and spent seven hours and 46 minutes on their duties – 1.5 hours longer than originally planned.
Their first assignment was the deployment of two Tanusha nano satellites, designed to measure the space density and study spacecraft in a lane, and two SiriusSat space detectors, the small satellites were manually thrown into space by Prokopyev in a period of 14 minutes.
Then the two cosmonauts installed the ICARUS antenna on top of the Zvez da module, a task that turned out to be more complicated and time-consuming than initially expected.
Spacewalkers Sergey Prokopyev and Oleg Artemyev are seen outside a window on the space station cable car for the Icarus animal tracing experiment. #AskNASA https://t.co/yuOTrZ4Jut pic.twitter.com/i5NKQNenQV
– Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) August 15, 2018
According to Sputnik News the astronauts struggled with the long electrical cables from the antenna, which they had to unlock and connect so that the system could receive power. 19659002] "The delay was mainly due to the laying of cables," said Aleksandr Kaleri, an experienced cosmonaut and a manager at the Russian rocket-producing company Energia. "There are already a lot of cables outside."
At one point Artemyev had a hard time with a twisted cable and eventually he pulled a sharp knife to deal with the situation.
"Can you give us some more, difficult tasks please?" The cosmonaut joked for five hours in the spacewalk.
Near the five-hour sign, spacewalkers Sergey Prokopyev and Oleg Artemyev continued to install the Icarus animal tracking study (collaboration between @DLR_en and @Roscosmos) outside the Zvezda service module of the station. #AskNASA https://t.co/yuOTrZ4Jut pic.twitter.com/tjWuQN2wmH
– Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) August 15, 2018
When this part of the job was done, the two astronauts moved on to the final order – collecting four boxes of microbe samples from the ISS hull. These samples are part of an experiment aimed at measuring cosmic effects on the space station and from which it soon emerged that exposure made part of the microbes more viral and resilient.
Unfortunately, the delays caused Artemyev and Prokopyev to have too little time and the cosmonauts ended up collecting only two of the example boxes. The remaining samples must be collected during a future spacewalk.
What is the ICARUS experiment?
The joint German-Russian aim is to study the behavior of animals by following the migration of birds and small mammals and looking at their life span and the spread of diseases.
The ICARUS antenna mounted by Artemyev and Prokopyev on top of the ISS will monitor the GPS signals from a series of bird and animal tags and send the data to a central computer on board the Zvezda module, ] Sputnik News referring to the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany.
Initially, ICARUS will follow blackbirds and turtledoves that are already equipped with small GPS tags; then the team continues with other songbirds, fruit bats and larger animals in the wild Phys.org .
The project also includes leg band tags for larger birds, such as storks and ear tags for large mammals such as gazelles, jaguars, camels and elephants, said Martin Wikelski, ICARUS director of the Max Planck Institute.
Although this type of antenna is usually installed on a satellite, the team chose to place the ICARUS on top of the ISS for easy maintenance by space station astronauts.
The ultimate workplace. My crewmates @OlegMKS and Sergey have successfully installed the # Icarus experimental antenna on the outer hull of #ISS. pic.twitter.com/Z19eH1VzAf
– Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 16, 2018
Up Next, Two Spacewalks in September
This was the very first spacewalk in the career of Prokopyev and the third for Artemyev, who has spent a total of 20 hours and 20 minutes in the vacuum of space. As the Inquisitr reported earlier, Prokopyev arrived in the space station on June 8, together with German astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA's Serena Auñón chancellor.
Wednesday's outing was also the seventh spacewalk since the start of In 2018, three of which were conducted by US astronauts Andrew Feustel and Ricky Arnold in March, May and June, NASA notes.
The longest spacewalk of the year, with a duration of 8 hours and 13 minutes, was performed by cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Anton Shkaplerov on 2 February and broke the Russian spacewalk record, the Inquisitr reported in that time.
In total, astronauts have completed a total of 212 spacewalks since the ISS became operational 20 years ago, with two spacewalks planned for the next month. According to Space.com the following spacewalks are planned for 20 and 26 September and will be performed by Feustel, Arnold and Gerst.
"Those excursions will focus on maintaining the space station, including replacing batteries and power channels," notes the media output.