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Cosmonauts Begin International Space Station Spacewalk

Expedition 32 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko began the first spacewalk of the Expedition 32 mission at 11:37 a.m. EDT Monday.

The primary task during the 6.5-hour excursion is to move the Strela-2 cargo boom from the Pirs docking compartment to the Zarya module. The move is another step in preparing Pirs for its eventual undocking and disposal, which will make room for the docking of the new Russian multipurpose laboratory module to the Zvezda nadir port. Other tasks include the installation of micrometeoroid debris shields on the exterior of the Zvezda service module and the deployment of a small science satellite. More tasks are planned if time permits.

Padalka has conducted eight previous spacewalks and is wearing the spacesuit bearing red stripes. Malenchenko has conducted four spacewalks and is wearing the spacesuit with blue stripes. The spacewalk is the 163rd in support of station assembly and maintenance.

Over the past couple of weeks, Padalka and Malenchenko completed a variety of tasks in anticipation of the spacewalk including resizing their Orlan spacesuits, conducting routine spacesuit maintenance, configuring spacewalk equipment and conducting a suited “dry run” check.

A second Expedition 32 spacewalk, scheduled for Aug. 30, will be conducted by NASA Flight Engineer Sunita Williams and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide. The duo will don U.S. extravehicular mobility unit spacesuits for the first U.S.-based spacewalk since July 2011. It will be a 6.5-hour excursion designed to replace a faulty power relay unit on the station’s truss, rig power cables for the arrival late next year of a Russian laboratory module, replace a failing robotic arm camera and install a thermal cover on a docking port.

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