Watch Russian cosmonauts make their 3rd try at a spacewalk tonight (Image Credit: Space.com)
Two Russian cosmonauts will attempt a twice-delayed spacewalk yet again tonight (April 18), and you can watch the action live.
Coverage of the International Space Station (ISS) spacewalk will start tonight at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT Wednesday, April 19) here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA Television. Depending on how preparations go, the spacewalk should start around 9:30 p.m. EDT (0130 GMT) and last about 6 hours and 40 minutes, NASA’s live page states (opens in new tab).
ISS Expedition 69 cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin have already made two tries at starting this set of space activities. A failed spacesuit pump aborted an attempt on Nov. 25, 2022. Just three weeks later, a Dec. 15 try was called off following a leak on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that started just before the airlock was opened, spewing corrosive coolant into space.
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The cosmonauts will exit the station’s Russian Poisk airlock on tonight’s spacewalk, wearing Orlan spacesuits. “From there, the duo will maneuver to the Earth-facing side of the station and start the work of moving a radiator and an experiment module,” a NASA blog post (opens in new tab) stated on April 13.
The spacewalkers will continue to prepare these two bulky pieces of equipment for transfer from the Rassvet module. The Rassvet radiator and experiment airlock were shipped to space in May 2010 aboard the STS-132 space shuttle mission. Now Russia’s space agency Roscosmos plans to shift the equipment to the newer Russian Nauka science laboratory that launched to the ISS in 2021.
The work will take four spacewalks all told; one featuring Prokopyev and Petelin already completed all its tasks on Nov. 17, 2022. Pending tonight’s extravehicular activity going to plan, the last two excursions will happen on April 25 and May 4 with the same two cosmonauts.
During all these spacewalks, cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev will assist with robotic activities from inside the ISS using the European Space Agency’s robotic arm on Nauka, including performing the equipment transfer after the preparation activities are complete.
Prokopyev will wear an Orlan spacesuit with red stripes for tonight’s spacewalk, while Petelin will sport blue stripes on his.
Tonight’s spacewalk will be the third at the ISS in 2023, following two NASA ones on Jan. 20 and Feb. 2. The EVA will be the second for Petelin and the fourth for Prokopyev, who already has nearly 22 hours of spacesuit time accumulated.
Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of “Why Am I Taller (opens in new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).