Russian spacewalkers ‘flex’ space station’s robotic arm

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Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev exited the space station at 10:58 a.m. ET to begin their spacewalk, which lasted for seven hours and 42 minutes. It ended at 6:40 p.m. ET.

Artemyev was identifiable in the Russian Orlan spacesuit bearing red stripes, while Matveev wore a spacesuit with blue stripes. This was the second spacewalk for Matveev and the fifth for veteran spacewalker Artemyev.

Artemyev and Matveev conducted work on the robotic arm outside the Russian Nauka multipurpose module. Their work began during a spacewalk on April 18.

Russian cosmonauts Denis Matveev and Oleg Artemyev worked outside the station's Russian segment for six hours and 37 minutes on April 18. Artemyev is shown, identifiable by his spacesuit's red stripes.

On this initial spacewalk, the duo installed and connected a control panel for the 37-foot-long (11.3-meter-long) robotic arm.

Matveev and Artemyev tested the mechanism’s first motions on Thursday. The cosmonauts flexed the robotic arm’s joints, released restraints and tested its grappling ability.

They also jettisoned thermal blankets that covered the robotic arm away from the station to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

This robotic arm will be used to assist spacewalkers and transport any items that need to be moved outside the space station’s Russian segment in the future.

It was the fifth spacewalk outside the space station this year and the 250th overall in support of assembling, maintaining and upgrading the orbiting laboratory.

These paired excursions are the first of upcoming spacewalks that will focus on preparing Nauka and the robotic arm for future use.

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