Realtime coverage of Russian EVA-25

12:15 AM 7/27 Update: Russian spacewalk begins

Cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Fyodor Yurchikhin opened the outer hatch of the International Space Station's Pirs airlock module at 12:11 a.m. EDT Tuesday to officially kick off a planned six-hour spacewalk.
Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko waves at a camera
shortly after leaving the Pirs airlock module.
(Photo: NASA TV)

"Isn't it beautiful outside?" one of the cosmonauts said.

"Yeah, kind of windy outside," the other joked.

The first item on the agenda is to replace an aging video camera on the aft end of the Zvezda command module that is used by approaching European Space Agency cargo vehicles.

After the new camera is installed, the cosmonauts will focus on running computer data lines from Zvezda to the new Rassvet docking compartment attached to the Zarya module's Earth-facing port. Once that work is complete, the cosmonauts will hook up another set of cables to connect passive KURS rendezvous antennas near Rassvet's docking port.

1:25 AM 7/27 Update: European video camera replaced

Cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Fyodor Yurchikhin replaced an aging European video camera on the end of the Zvezda command module. The cosmonauts then made their way back to the Pirs airlock module where they will temporarily stow the old camera before beginning work to run data cables between Zvezda and the new Rassvet module.

Russian flight controllers, meanwhile, reported the new camera is working as expected.

2:00 AM 7/27 Update: European video camera replaced

An untethered piece of equipment floats away after
it was accidentally released during today’s spacewalk.
(Photo: NASA TV)
An untethered piece of equipment, presumably a handling fixture from a data cable reel, was inadvertently dropped overboard by spacewalkers Mikhail Kornienko and Fyodor Yurchikhin.

Camera views showed the fixture slowly tumbling away against the blue and white limb of the planet below as the cosmonauts pressed on with work to run data cables between the Zvezda command module and the newly installed Rassvet module.

Engineers are assessing the track of the dropped equipment to make sure it won’t be a threat to the station later.

06:55 AM 7/27: Cosmonauts connect computer, rendezvous system cables; jettison camera; end spacewalk

Cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Fyodor Yurchikhin wrapped up a six-hour 42-minute spacewalk today, returning to the space station's Pirs airlock module and closing the hatch at 6:53 a.m. EDT.

The cosmonauts ran cables from the Zvezda command module to the new Rassvet docking compartment to connect the new module to the station's Russian computer system. They also connected cables to a passive rendezvous system antenna to enable future automatic dockings at Rassvet.

The work went smoothly, but Russian flight controllers ran into problems during tests to make sure all the KURS-P rendezvous antenna system cables were properly seated.

"Are you positive that all the connectors have been mated?" a flight controller radioed.

"Well, I do have fairly good assurance," Yurchikhin replied through a translator. "Are there any issues?"

"You know, for some reason, when we did the first activation we received nothing," the controller said.

Yurchikhin then double checked the connections to make sure the cables were properly seated. He found no obvious problems and the cosmonauts were told to head back to the Pirs airlock module.

The KURS automated rendezvous system on Rassvet will not be needed until a Soyuz docking in December and if problems persist, additional troubleshooting can be carried out during upcoming Russian spacewalks.

Kornienko and Yurchikhin had one final task: jettisoning an aging television camera used to support dockings by the European Space Agency’s ATV cargo ships. A new camera was installed earlier in the spacewalk and the old unit was temporarily stowed at Pirs.

Because of flaking insulation that posed a contamination threat to the station's air supply, mission managers decided to have the cosmonauts throw the old camera overboard after making sure its replacement was operating properly. It was, and Yurchikhin tossed the old camera away around 6:40 a.m., releasing it in the opposite direction of the station's travel.

Engineers expect the camera to fall into the atmosphere and burn up in about four months.

With the camera on its way, Yurchikhin and Kornienko headed back inside Pirs to wrap up the spacewalk. Total station spacewalk assembly time through 147 EVAs now stands at 921 hours and 35 minutes, or 38.4 days.