Friday, June 20, 2014

Animation of Russian Spacewalkers on the ISS

ISS spacewalk animation

Animation of Russian Spacewalkers on the ISS.

This animation depicts Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev working outside the Russian segment of the International Space Station for about 6.5 hours of spacewalking tasks on June 19, 2014. Narration by EVA Specialist Devan Bolch.

Their mission was to install equipment and swap out parts of scientific experiments outside the orbiting laboratory. They opened the hatch of the Pirs docking port at 10:10 a.m. (1410 GMT) to begin their 6.5-hour spacewalk, or EVA (extravehicular activity).

The passage of time in space is not like that on earth. It's not as though they have sunrises in the morning and sunsets at night - more like a new sunrise every 90 minutes or so. They witness about 15 sunrises and 15 sunsets every "day," or 24 hours, on the ISS.

Specifically, the Cosmonauts installed new communications equipment, relocated an experiment that studies plasma, inspected latches and gathered samples from service module windows. Basically, they were puttering outside in the garage for a day.

Skvortsov has a spacesuit with red stripes. Artemyev is extravehicular crew member 2, or EV2, and his suit has blue stripes. For both of them, it was their first spacewalk. Quite an introduction to spacewalking, being outside for 6.5 hours.

This was the 180th EVA in the space station's history. Construction on the ISS began in 1998 and continues.

There were four men available to give support if anything bad happened. NASA astronauts Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst of Germany and cosmonaut Maxim Suraev. Aside from Swanson, who came up in March with the two spacewalkers, they all launched to the outpost in late May. The six men make up the Expedition 40 crew.

It would be interesting to know if this spacewalk resulted in any permanent space junk.

This is a high quality, 3D animation that really gives you a sense of what it is like to work in space. Obviously, this animation, which no doubt took a lot of time and work to put together, was produced by NASA in advance of the spacewalk and depicts what the two Cosmonauts were planning to do, and ultimately did do. In fact, this animation was released the day before the spacewalk ever happened, so it is a simulation and not a reproduction.


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