Two Russian cosmonauts ventured outside the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday to carry out tasks under the Russian space program, Russian Mission Control said.
Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov will spend a little over six hours outside the orbital station to move a14-meter crane from a docking module to a small scientific module (MIM-2) and to install additional shields to protect the ISS from space debris.
The current spacewalk, which started at 06:31 p.m. Moscow time (14:31 GMT) with a 16-minute delay, is the first for the ISS crew this year.
If time permits, the cosmonauts will perform scientific experiments under Test and Vynoslivost (Endurance) programs.
The Russian cosmonauts are wearing computerized Orlan-MK spacesuits, which have proved their effectiveness in previous spacewalks.
The current ISS crew also includes NASA astronauts Don Pettit and Dan Burbank, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers.