Russian space walkers ‘flex’ the space station’s robotic arm

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Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev departed the space station at 10:58 a.m. ET to begin their spacewalk, which lasted seven hours and 42 minutes. It ended at 6:40 p.m. ET.

Artemyev was identifiable in the red-striped Russian Orlan spacesuit, while Matveev wore a blue-striped spacesuit. It was the second spacewalk for Matveev and the fifth for spacewalking veteran Artemyev.

Artemyev and Matveev conducted work on the robotic arm outside Russia’s Nauka multipurpose module. Their work began during a spacewalk on April 18.

During this first spacewalk, the duo installed and connected a control panel for the 37-foot-long (11.3 meters long) Robotic arm.

Matveev and Artemyev tested the first movements of the mechanism on Thursday. The cosmonauts flexed the joints of the robotic arm, released the constraints and tested its grasping ability.

They also jettisoned the thermal blankets that covered the robotic arm away from the station to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

This robotic arm will be used to assist walkers in space and transport all objects that need to be moved outside the Russian segment of the space station in the future.

It was the fifth spacewalk outside the space station this year and the 250th overall in support of the assembly, maintenance and modernization of the orbital laboratory.

These combined excursions are the first of upcoming spacewalks that will focus on preparing Nauka and the robotic arm for future use.

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