Two cosmonauts, both from the Russian space agency Roscosmos, conducted a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station on Wednesday.
Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov prepared the outside of the space station’s Russian segment to receive a new module.
That’s right; both bear the first name Sergey, spelled exactly the same way. This is Ryzhikov’s second time on the space station and Kud-Sverchkov’s first. And it’s the first spacewalk for both cosmonauts.
Ryzhikov, the current Expedition 64 Commander, wore a Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes while Kud-Sverchkov wore a spacesuit with blue stripes as extravehicular crew member 2.
Ryzhikov was designated EV1 and Kud-Sverchkov was designated EV2 — although they were also still referred to as “Sergey 1” and “Sergey 2.” This trend started during a press conference appearance by the two Sergeys aboard the space station in October.
Kate Rubins, the NASA astronaut who launched with the cosmonauts in October from Kazakhstan, helped them suit up and monitored their progress throughout the spacewalk.
The spacewalk officially began at 10:12 a.m. ET and ended at 5:00 p.m. ET, lasting 6 hours and 48 minutes.
This is the 47th Russian spacewalk contributing to assembly and maintenance for the station, the 232nd overall spacewalk and the eighth this year.
The cosmonauts inspected the hatch for leaks outside the Russian Poisk module since it will be used as an airlock once the new module arrives.
The new Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module, called “Nauka” which is Russian for “science,” will replace the Russian Pirs module. Pirs will be decommissioned, undocked and disposed of in the future.
Nauka will launch next year from Kazakhstan. In the meantime, several spacewalks will be needed to relocate assets from Pirs and the Zarya module to prepare for Nauka’s arrival in April 2021.
“We welcome any and all modules, especially if they have stowage space,” Rubins said in October.
And then there were 7
The NASA SpaceX Crew-1 flight docked at the space station on Tuesday, bringing the total astronauts on the station to seven (plus one Baby Yoda serving the all-important job as a zero gravity indicator).
Zero gravity indicators, usually cute toys, let the crew know when they’ve reached space after launch. As soon as the toy begins to float, they know they’re in space.
Yuri, a little cosmonaut knitted by Kud-Sverchkov’s wife Olga, accompanied them during their October launch. Each crew gets to pick their own indicator, according to NASA.
Crew-1 carried NASA astronauts Victor Glover Jr., Michael Hopkins and Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi to the space station for their six-month stay.
NASA’s Commercial Crew program can expand the amount of astronauts on the space station — which means that more science, and even new types of experiments, can happen in the unique microgravity environment.
The seven crewmembers had a welcoming ceremony on Tuesday.
It’s a historic moment for the space station. This will be the first long-duration crew including seven members in the space station’s 20 years. November 2 marked 20 years for a continuous human presence on the space station.
Previously, the space station has hosted as many as 13 people, but only for a few days as crews came and went.