AstroSamantha: returned to the ISS, completed space walk – Space & Astronomy

The spacewalk of Samantha Cristoforetti and Oleg Artemyev ended: the astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the colleague of the Russian space agency Roscosmos returned to the International Space Station and the hatch was closed. The two worked for almost seven hours outside the Russian segment of the Space Station, after the decision of the control center in Moscow to stop in advance the extra-vehicular activity for safety reasons related to the autonomy of the batteries that power the systems of subsistence of the suits.

“Once again Samantha is a forerunner”, astronaut Luca Parmitano told ANSA who, like Samantha Cristoforetti, is part of the European Space Agency (ESA). “Thank you – she adds – for her role in showing everyone, women and men, what determination and commitment to achieving a goal are.”

AstroSamantha working to release ten nanosatellites
After securing herself to the Space Station, Cristoforetti installed a camera and then, with her colleague Artemyev, began working on operations for the release of the ten nanosatellites. This is the first task in the long program of the two astronauts, in a spacewalk that should last at least six and a half hours.
That of Cristoforetti and Artemyev is a planned extra-vehicular activity around the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS). In fact, all the activities concern structures located in the Russian part of the ISS: the European Robotic Arm (Era) on which the two astronauts will have to work today is located on the Russian Nauka module; operations are also planned in the compensation chamber of the Russian Nauka module (or Mlm, Multipurpose Laboratory Module), docked to the Space Station in July 2021 to serve both as a laboratory and as a docking point for shuttles.

In the foreground, Samantha Cristoforetti’s gloves, while the astronaut is working on the Cubesats; in the background, colleague Oleg Artmyev (source: NASA TV)

Parmitano follows every moment of the operations from the NASA control center in Houston. “It’s a’extra-vehicular activity planned around the Russian segment of the International Space Station “and which sees the participation of an ESA astronaut because one of the objectives is the completion of the procedure foractivation of the European Robotic Arm (Era) hooked to the modulo Russian Science. “For this reason, Samantha Cristoforetti’s extra-vehicular activity was planned from the beginning with a Russian astronaut and the Russian Orlan suit. It is therefore – Parmitano observes – ajoint Russian and European activity“.

The suit Orlan it is the only spacewalking suit currently in use, after NASA and ESA had decided to suspend the use of American suits Emu (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) waiting to know the outcome of the investigations into the causes of the water leak that took place last March 23 in the suit of European astronaut Matthias Maurer. An accident similar to the one that happened to Luca Parmitano in 2013. “The Orlan suit is different from the Emu because it has a higher level of pressurization; the Emu instead requires a longer preparation to avoid embolism but more comfortable in operations. In Parmitano the memory of that incident is still alive, as is the anniversary of his second mission, Beyond which started on 20 July 2019, in the 50th anniversary of the moon landing: “I don’t look to the past, I’m more projected towards the future”, he says the astronaut.

I’m three tasks that Cristoforetti and Artemyev will have to face in the spacewalk: completing the installation of the European robotic armcomplete operations in the clearinghouse of the Russian module Science (or Mlm, Multipurpose Laboratory Module), docked to the Space Station in July 2021 to serve both as a laboratory and as a docking point for shuttles, release into orbit of 10 nanosatellites.

“The preparation for a spacewalk is very long and for weeks Samantha and Oleg have been working together to fine-tune the final details of the procedures and choreography,” notes Parmitano. “Now – he adds – the fruits of preparation are reaped”. No advice from Luca Parmitano to my colleague Cristoforetti: “the advice is always linked to individual experiences and it is not certain that my experience will be useful to Samantha Cristoforetti. I am convinced that she does not need it: she is very professionally prepared and extremely capable, she will your business in the best possible way- To you the warmest good luck! “