WASHINGTON, July 9 (RIA Novosti) – Astronauts from the United States and Italy on Tuesday were conducing a spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS) to prepare the research lab for a new Russian laboratory module set to arrive in December.
NASA’s Chris Cassidy and Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency were scheduled to work for more than six hours outside the ISS to ready the station for the Russian lab and to conduct a range of maintenance tasks, including replacing defunct communications and video equipment, as well as collecting the results of space experiments, The Associated Press reported.
“These are just a mixture of different, unrelated tasks, for the most part, that we’re trying to burn down,” spacewalk flight director David Korth of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, said last week, Space.com reported.
The prep work for the Russian lab, which is dubbed “Nauka,” or “Science,” will include routing power cables to support the module, Space.com said. Nauka will be used as a research facility and as a docking port, as well as for staging spacewalks for Russian cosmonauts, the website cited NASA officials as saying.
Tuesday’s spacewalk, the first ever for an Italian astronaut, is being broadcast live by NASA.