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Cosmonauts prepare to head outside space station

Posted: June 19, 2014

Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev will float outside the International Space Station on Thursday on a spacewalk to install a communications antenna and relocate science experiments.

Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev prepares for Thursday's spacewalk inside the Pirs airlock. Photo credit: NASA
The cosmonauts are scheduled to exit the space station's Pirs airlock at about 9:50 a.m. EDT (1350 GMT) in Orlan spacesuits.

Skvortsov and Artemyev will first move to the outer shell of the space station's Zvezda service module to install an advanced phased array communications antenna. Russian engineers will use the antenna to beam telemetry between the space station and the ground through the Luch data relay spacecraft, Russia's counterpart to NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellites.

The cosmonauts will mate power cables and remove protective covers from the antenna, then relocate a plasma research experiment outside the service module.

Artemyev will collect swab samples from the exterior of a service module window, then the cosmonauts will reposition science gear to a new mounting boom. The spacewalkers will toss the old mounting frame overboard.

The spacewalk is scheduled to last about six-and-a-half hours.

Skvortsov will wear an Orlan spacesuit with red stripes, and Artemyev's suit will be distinguishable by blue stripes.

Thursday's excursion will be the 180th spacewalk in support of space station construction and maintenance since December 1998. The spacewalk marks the first EVA for Skvortsov and Artemyev.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.