Russian cosmonauts to conduct first of eleven spacewalks outside of the ISS

Two Russian cosmonauts will leave the International Space Station (ISS) today to conduct the first of up to 11 spacewalks

Russian cosmonauts to conduct first of eleven planned spacewalks

Photo: CNN

Two Russian cosmonauts will leave the International Space Station (ISS) today to conduct the first of up to 11 spacewalks to the Roscosmos-funded Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module.

During the spacewalk dubbed Russian EVA 49, Expedition 65 flight engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov will install handrails, connect power, ethernet and data cables between the Nauka and Zvezda modules. A second spacewalk will be conducted on September 9.

Initially scheduled for 2007, the launch of the Nauka module was delayed until July 21, 2021 due to technical difficulties. Nauka is likely to be Russia’s last contribution to the ISS due to US sanctions on Roscosmos, which led to the planned establishment of a joint Russo-China lunar station—scheduled to launch to the moon’s surface in May, 2022.

The spacewalks to Nauka are necessary to reassure Roscosmos’ stakeholders, including China, of its efficacy. The space agency recently faced challenges due to safety concerns for Russia’s ISS segment and Moscow faces pressure to improve its space capabilities before the launch of its joint lunar station with Beijing next year. Sino-Russian collaboration will benefit both countries due to the accumulation of research and equipment, as well as autonomy from the US’s space monopoly.

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