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HomeBusiness InnovationRussian & European Astronauts to Conduct Rare Joint Spacewalk

Russian & European Astronauts to Conduct Rare Joint Spacewalk

Key Pointers

  • Two astronauts put on puffy white spacesuits and exit for the Joint Spacewalk on the ISS.
  • They will deploy ten nanosatellites to collect radio electronics data and install a telescopic boom that will assist with future spacewalks.

One Russian and one European astronaut have put on puffy white space suits and exited the airlock for a Rare Joint Spacewalk on the International Space Station. It is the first time such a joint endeavor has taken place in more than 20 years.

Samantha Cristoforetti, an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency, and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev are scheduled to exit the International Space Station (ISS) at 10 AM ET and spend about seven hours working to install a 36-foot-long new robotic arm on one of the modules of the space station.

Spacewalks are a regular endeavor on the ISS, but they typically involve two Americans or Europeans or Russians or an American and a European working together. According to NASA, the last time a European astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut left the ISS wearing Russian-made Orlan spacesuits was in April 1999.

This Rare Joint Spacewalk is the first for Cristoforetti and sixth for Artemyev. Their joint venture comes as tensions on Earth between Russia and the US and its allies have hit a fever pitch amid the Ukrainian war. However, NASA has repeatedly said the conflict had not affected cooperation in space.

Details on the Spacewalk

It is the third event that ISS astronauts have conducted to work on a European Robotic Arm installation. It can move objects in and out of the space station for maintenance and even inspect its exterior using built-in cameras.

The arm, the third robotic limb attached to the ISS and capable of reaching the Russian-controlled portion of the space station, is being affixed to the outside of the new Russian space station module, Nauka.

Artemyev and Cristoforetti will deploy ten nanosatellites that are designed to collect radio electronics data. They will install “a telescopic boom,” a kind of crane-like structure that will assist with future spacewalks.

This will be the sixth spacewalk carried out at the ISS so far in 2022 and the 251st overall. Astronauts usually leave the station to maintain its exterior, install new hardware or conduct science experiments.

ESA will live stream the spacewalk on ESA Web TV on Thursday. Viewers can spot both the astronauts identifying the stripes on their spacesuits. Cristoforetti will wear the blue stripes on her spacesuit, while Artemyev will wear red stripes.

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