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Record Space Station Spacewalk Runs into Trouble

Dec 28, 2013 03:03 PM EST

International Space Station crew members Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy performed a record 8-hour, 7-minute spacewalk Friday in a failed effort to install a pair of cameras as part of a Canadian commercial project aimed at downlinking images of Earth.

The event marked the longest Russian spacewalk ever carried out, surpassing the previous Russian record of 7 hours, 29 minutes set August 16 by Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin.

Kotov and Ryazanskiy succeeded in situating the two cameras as well as a foot restraint on the station's exterior, but later were forced to remove the former due, according to a NASA statement, "to an unspecified problem that prevented telemetry from being received on the ground by Russian flight controllers."

The flight control team at the Russian Mission Control Center located outside Moscow directed Kotov and Ryazanskiy to bring the cameras back in for further inspection.

Besides their work with the cameras, the cosmonauts also removed the Vsplesk experiment package, installed during a spacewalk back in 2008. The package was designed to monitor seismic effects with the help of high-energy particle streams in the near-Earth environment and was replaced by Seismoprognoz, a more sophisticated earthquake-monitoring system.

Due to the problems with the cameras, Kotov and Ryazanskiy were unable to complete other assigned tasks, including the installation of a payload boom.

For Kotov, this spacewalk marked his fifth, bringing his total spacewalking time up to 30 hours, 43 minutes. Ryazanskiy has now completed two spacewalks for a total of 13 hours, 57 minutes. It was the 177th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance and the 11th one this year. In all, more than 1,115 hours, 44 minutes have been logged since the first spacewalk in December, 1998.

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