Russia Will Activate Robotic Arm on Space Station

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Courtesy of NASA Johnson (Flickr CCO)

Two cosmonauts from Russia will take spacewalks to activate a robotic arm on Monday. The European Space Agency (ESA) and many other agencies in Europe made the component the International Space Station (ISS).

Expedition 67 Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Oleg Artemyev will start an approximately seven-hour-long spacewalk at 10:25 a.m. ET. It will be live-streamed on the NASA website. Coverage will begin at 10 a.m. ET.

This will be one of two spacewalks that the cosmonauts will conduct to get the robotic arm set up outside of the Russian Nauka.

Events During the Spacewalk

During the spacewalk on Monday, the pair will connect and install a control panel for the robotic arm that is 37 feet long. They will also take off the protective covers on the arm and put on the handrails outside of the module.

The purpose of the arm is to help spacewalkers and transport items that have to be relocated outside of the ISS’ Russian segment later on.

The blue stripes will identify Matveev on their spacesuit, and Artemyev will have red.

This spacewalk will be the first for Matveev and the fourth for Artemyev, a veteran spacewalker. It will also be the fourth spacewalk outside the ISS in 2022 and the 294th walk for assistance with assembling, upgrading, and maintaining the laboratory in orbit.

Courtesy of NASA Johnson (Flickr CCO)

The Second Spacewalk

A second spacewalk will take place on April 28. The pair will then remove the thermal blankets from the arm that were used for protection when it launched last year with the Nauka module. The cosmonauts will then release restraints, flex the joints on the robotic arm, and test the ability to grapple.

The launch happened in July after over 10 years of setbacks and delays. The space lab is the most recent addition to the station. Last year, Russia confirmed that it has plans to abandon the ISS eventually.

These spacewalks will be focused on the preparation of Nauka and the robotic arm for use in the future. These two walks are the first many.

NASA Astronaut on the ISS

On Friday, Dr. Tom Marshburn, an astronaut with NASA, explained that it had been a cordial and friendly relationship up on the ISS. He also stated that they have all been working well together. He said this when he was asked how the geopolitical tension from Russia has affected their life on the station. Marshburn also said that the Russian cosmonauts and NASA’s crew normally share food and watch movies.

He explained that they rely on each other to survive and that it is a dangerous environment, so they follow the training they received and recognize that they are all up in the ISS for the same reason. The purpose is to explore and maintain the station.

Future spacewalks are expected to continue to equip the robotic arm and operate the airlock for Nauka for spacewalks later on.

Written by Marrissa Kay
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


CNN: Russian cosmonauts to activate space station’s new robotic arm; by Ashley Strickland
NASA: NASA Sets Coverage for Russian Spacewalks Outside Space Station

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of NASA Johnson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of NASA Johnson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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