|Volume: 07, Issue: 03||03/11/2009|
Station Spacewalkers Install Experiments, ProbeInternational Space Station Commander Mike Fincke and Flight Engineer Yury Lonchakov floated outside the stationís Russian airlock on March 10, 2009, to install an experiment that will expose samples to space, remove some unnecessary straps in the area of a docking target, and photograph the exterior of the International Space Station.
Lonchakov, the lead spacewalker, made his second spacewalk. The pair finished tasks that couldnít be finished on a December 22, 2008, spacewalk. The spacewalk lasted about four hours and 49 minutes, concluding ahead of the six hour allotted timeframe.
The Exposing Specimens of Organic and Biological Materials to Open Space (Expose-R) experiment was installed on the universal science platform mounted to the exterior of the Zvezda Service Module.
The spacewalkers also removed Arimide straps, or tape, from the area of the docking target on the Pirs airlock and docking compartment. The tape was removed to ensure it does not get in the way during the arrival of visiting Soyuz or Progress spacecraft.
The final task was taking photos of the exterior of the Russian portion of the station to document its condition after a decade of operation in the harsh environment of space. The photos will be used to assess the condition of the outer surfaces and structural elements of the station, including active components such as thrusters and vents.
A special trash bag was used to collect any trash, such as the Arimide straps, so that it will not be jettisoned so close to the upcoming STS-119 space shuttle docking. The trash bag is secured to the outside of the station, and will be jettisoned on a future spacewalk.
Fincke and Lonchakov exited and reentered the station via the Pirs airlock, and the closing of its hatch marked the end of the spacewalk. Fincke and Lonchakov will return to Earth April 7 in their Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft now docked to the station. They have been aboard the orbiting laboratory since October 2008.
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