Russian astronauts start 6.5 hour spacewalk

AFP , Monday 10 Aug 2015

Two Russian astronauts on Monday began a spacewalk from the International Space Station set to last around six and a half hours, carrying out tasks to maintain and monitor the station.

The spacewalk, which began shortly after 1400 GMT, is scheduled to last 6 hours and 28 minutes.

Astronauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko clipped harnesses onto the exterior of the orbiting space station and began tasks including cleaning the windows of the Russian sector of the station, wearing spacesuits bearing the Russian flag.

Padalka, 57, in June set the world record for the most time spent in space with a total of 803 days. It is his ninth walk in open space, while it is the second for Kornienko, aged 55.

Floating against the bright blue oceans and white clouds of Earth, the astronauts filmed with small handheld cameras, constantly communicating with each other and Russian mission control outside Moscow, in footage broadcast on the website of the Russian space agency.

Their other tasks for the day include changing an antenna and photographing the surface of the Russian section of the ISS.

It is the 188th spacewalk to maintain the station, according to NASA.

The next spacewalk around the Russian section is set for January or February 2016, space industry official Alexander Kaleri told TASS state news agency on Monday.

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