Spacewalking Cosmonauts Faring Well with Re-installation of Urthecast International Space Station Cameras


In a re-do of a frustrating Dec. 27th spacewalk, cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy returned to the outside of the International Space Station's Russian segment on Monday for the installation of two commercial Earth observing cameras for Urthecast, of Vancouver, Canada.

Once installed on Dec. 27, Russia's Mission Control called for the retrieval of the video and still imaging cameras, when the power and data transmissions failed.  With some troubleshooting, engineers discovered a faulty internal cable connector to blame for the video imager's difficulties and an external cable mix-up for the still camera problem.

On Monday, Kotov and Ryazanskiy breezed through the re-installation of the high resolution video imager, the first of the two re-installs. Within two hours of the start of the scheduled six-hour excursion, Russia's Mission Control reported positive power and data transmission links. The re-install of a medium resolution still camera was to follow on Monday.

UrtheCast plans to offer near-real time Earth views from the two imagers to subscribers through the Internet in partnership with Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency. The camera hardware was launched to the space station in November aboard a Progress re-supply craft.

The late December spacewalk stretched to eight hours, seven minutes, a Russian record.

Monday's excursion was the fourth for Expedition 38, which got under way for the six-person ISS crew on Nov. 10. In addition to the Russian spacewalks, NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins carried out two contingency outings on Dec. 21st and 24th to replace a thermal control system pump module with a faulty ammonia flow control valve.

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