SpaceX launched a resupply mission earlier in the week to give International Space Station astronauts a fresh batch of supplies, and if you remember, it also cut things close with a spacewalk being planned by Russian cosmonauts later in the week.
Fortunately, everything worked out in the end. Not only did astronauts get their fresh new batch of food and science experiments on time, but cosmonauts completed their spacewalk successfully on Thursday.
Image Credit: Roscosmos via Spaceflight Insider
The extravehicular activity (EVA) was performed by Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy and lasted approximately 7.5 hours, about an hour longer than originally planned. Nevertheless, everyone involved should consider the spacewalk a success.
While outside of the International Space Station, the crew members released five miniature satellites into space, collected a plethora of science experiments previously docked outside of the space lab, and deployed new experiments to collect data. The duo also installed handrails and struts along the outside of the ISS to make future spacewalks easier.
The new satellites weighed between 10-20 pounds each and were hand-tossed into orbit around the Earth, where they should remain for about six months before de-orbiting. Each satellite serves a different purpose; the first was fully-3D-printed and will help us understand how these kinds of manufactured components survive the harsh space environment.
The others weren’t 3D-printed, but citing Spaceflight Insider, they will help with various tasks, such as communication, power-generation, and navigation, among other things.
The event spacewalk marked Yurchikhin's ninth spacewalk and Ryazanskiy's fourth, and it brought Yurchikhin's total spacewalk time up to 59 hours and 28 minutes, which clocks in just under NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson's 60 hours and 21 minutes.
NASA shared the following video of the spacewalk on YouTube for anyone interested in watching what went on during the EVA:
NASA and Roscosmos routinely schedule spacewalks, so we can expect to see more in the future.
Source: Spaceflight Insider