Spacewalk Russians Urthecast Cameras
January 27, 2014

Russian Spacewalk Completes Installation Of Urthecast Camera

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

Cosmonauts completed a six-hour, eight minute spacewalk on Monday, finally getting the two Urthecast cameras installed outside of the International Space Station (ISS).

Expedition 38 Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy began their spacewalk this morning at 8:10 a.m. and finished at 3:08 p.m. eastern. The two men set out to finally complete tasks started on a December 27 spacewalk.

Kotov and Ryazanskiy installed a pair of high fidelity cameras, as well as retrieved scientific gear outside the station’s Russian segment. The cameras are part of Urthecast’s project to produce a live Ultra HD video feed of Earth in full color. The cameras were first shipped to the space station back in November aboard the Progress 53P cargo ship.

At the end of December Kotov and Ryazanskiy attempted to install the cameras, but the cosmonauts experienced problems with the wiring that delayed the initial installation. However, Urthecast said it found out afterwards that the problem was due to a cabling issue inside the ISS. After resolving the issue, the cosmonauts had to wait for another window of opportunity before attempting to install the cameras again.

“With the ISS cabling issue now resolved, we expect that the second spacewalk will result in a complete installation,” UrtheCast’s Chief Executive Officer, Scott Larson, said earlier this month in a statement. “We are again thankful for the hard work of the engineering teams at Roscomos, Energia, and UrtheCast, which were able to quickly isolate and resolve the issue. We’re now confident that our business plan will remain unaffected.”

The installation is part of a commercial agreement between Urthecast and the Russian Federal Space Agency to provide a live stream of Earth to Internet-based subscribers. Organizations will be able to rent out the video feed for research and other projects that might need to view the Ultra HD video stream.

NASA said the spacewalkers installed the high resolution camera and a medium resolution camera, but experienced telemetry issues with the medium camera. Neither Urthecast nor NASA have provided any more details about the telemetry issues.

During the spacewalk the cosmonauts also retrieved a cassette container attached to part of a materials exposure experiment known as Pirs. Afterwards they removed a worksite interface adapter attached to a portable data grapple fixture on the Zarya cargo module.

“The adapter removal work will ensure that future operations with the Canadarm2 robotic arm will not be impeded,” said a NASA spokesman.