ISS cosmonauts’ EVA sees Olympic Torch taken into black of space
Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy stepped outside the Pirs docking module on the International Space Station (ISS) this morning. The pair conducted a five hour, 50-minute spacewalk which served to bring the Olympic Flame to a place that the early Greeks never could have conceived when the first Olympic game was held in 776 BC – space. The extra-vehicular activity or “EVA” was more than just a publicity stunt however.
Having completed their photo-op, the two moved over to the Svezda service module (but not before they tucked the Olympic torch back inside the airlock), where they began to complete the spacewalk’s primary objectives. Stowing the torch back indoors was probably wise, given the chores the duo had on their plate – were conducted some 260 miles above the surface of Earth.
The two spacewalkers worked on an EVA workstation as well as a biaxial pointing platform. Some of this work had been started during Expedition 36. Kotov and Ryazanskiy installed handrails, loosened three bolts and took off a bracket which had been installed on the pointing platform. Working in the microgravity environment of space is difficult, as such, a foot restraint which was supposed to be installed during today’s spacewalk will have to wait until a future EVA as there were problems with its alignment.
Today’s EVA was the eighth conducted at the orbiting laboratory this year and the 174th that was done in support of the station overall. It was Ryazanskiy’s first and Kotov’s fourth trip outside the multi-national facility.
The ISS has been a hive of activity of late, with commercial spacecraft departing, Soyuz spacecraft being re-positioned as well as new crew members traveling to the ISS.
On Oct. 28, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Automated Transfer Vehicle 4, dubbed the “Albert Einstein” left the space station. Then, on Nov. 1, cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg and ESA astronaut Luca Parmintano moved a Soyuz spacecraft which was then docked at the position held by the Albert Einstein at the Svezda module, located at the rear of the station.
Just two days ago, the Expedition 38 crew launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrone in Kazakhstan, arriving at the ISS just six hours later. The new crew members, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata brought the torch with them on their journey ‘up hill.’
The Olympic Torch’s stay on the station will be brief. With its moment in the ‘sun’ complete, it will be loaded up onto one of the Soyuz spacecraft which will depart the station tomorrow, Sunday Nov. 10. along with Yurchikhin, Nyberg and Parmintano. The torch will be used to kick off the 2014 Olympic Winter Games held in Sochi, Russia in February of next year.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.