Russian cosmonauts unable to install Canadian cameras during spacewalk
Two Russian cosmonauts have completed a spacewalk, but were unable to install two cameras -- developed by a Canadian company -- on the exterior of the International Space Station.
Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy ventured outside the space station at 8 a.m. ET Friday to begin what was expected to be a seven-hour spacewalk, in order to install high-resolution cameras that would transmit photos and videos of the Earth on the Internet.
But the cameras, developed by the Vancouver-based company UrtheCast, were not able to transmit data to Russia Mission Control, and the two cosmonauts were told to remove the cameras and return them inside the laboratory for inspection.
UrtheCast said it planned to start streaming near real-time video of the Earth from the two cameras in early 2014.
Originally planned for mid-October, the cameras’ launch from Earth was delayed until late November to accommodate taking the first-ever Olympic torch into space.
In their spacewalk Friday, Kotov and Ryazanskiy were also tasked with removing a seismic activity monitor installed on the ISS in 2008, and replacing it with hardware for a new earthquake-monitoring experiment.
Friday's spacewalk was the 11th from the station this year, and the third one in just the last week.
Kotov and Ryazanskiy’s efforts broke the record for the longest spacewalk by Russians. The pair spent eight hours and seven minutes outside the ISS.
NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins took two emergency spacewalks last Saturday and again on Tuesday, Christmas Eve, to repair a faulty valve system that regulates the station's internal temperature.