Two Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have exited the craft for a six-hour spacewalk to undertake scientific research and conduct maintenance and tidying-up work on their orbiting base.
Oleg Kononenko and Aleksei Ovchinin on May 29 retrieved several scientific experiments designed to study the impact of space flight and cleaned some of the space station’s windows.
They also mounted handrails to be used on future spacewalks, among other tasks.
The exterior work was wrapped up quicker than expected and the spacewalk was cut in duration by about 30 minutes.
The task was Kononenko’s fifth spacewalk and Ovchinin’s first.
The two cosmonauts honored Aleksei Leonov, the cosmonaut who became the first human to walk in space on March 18, 1965, congratulating him on his 85th birthday during their walk.
The other crew members, NASA’s Anne McClain, Nick Hague, and Christina Koch, and Canadian David Saint-Jacques, remained inside the orbiting outpost.
Kononenko, McClain, and Saint-Jacques are scheduled to return to Earth in June after completion of their 6 1/2-month orbital mission. Ovchinin will replace Kononenko as the station’s commander.