This week’s image shows ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti hard at work on her first ever spacewalk, conducted alongside cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev. Not only that, but this spacewalk was also the first conducted by a European woman, and the first conducted by a European in an Orlan spacesuit from the International Space Station. Congratulations, Samantha!
The pair of spacewalkers worked on a number of tasks over the course of their seven-hour Extravehicular Activity, also known as an EVA. After being assisted into their gear by cosmonaut Sergei Korsakov, Samantha and Oleg exited the Space Station via the airlock of the Poisk module, and proceeded to deploy ten nanosatellites by hand as part of a radio technology experiment.
The European Robotic Arm (ERA) received a lot of attention during this spacewalk. In preparations for the ERA’s first operations on the newest Space Station’s laboratory module, Nauka, Samantha and Oleg installed a temporary ERA adapter, removed and replaced a protective window on the arm’s camera unit, as well as switched its control panel to stowage mode.
The duo also installed platforms and workstation adapter hardware mounted on Nauka. Due to a slight delay, scheduled boom installation to aid movement in future EVAs has been deferred to a future spacewalk.
After a job well done, both Samantha and Oleg took a well-deserved lie-in on 22 July. They did, however, spend the rest of the day hard at work cleaning and checking the various components of each of the Orlan spacesuits.