By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. Dec 27 Spacewalking Russian
cosmonauts on Friday spent over eight hours installing two
cameras outside the International Space Station for a Canadian
streaming-video business and then retrieving the gear due to
Station commander Oleg Kotov and flight engineer Sergey
Ryazanskiy left the station's Pirs airlock at 8 a.m. EST (1300
GMT) as the complex sailed 260 miles (420 km) over Australia,
mission commentator Rob Navias said during a NASA Television
broadcast of the spacewalk.
It was the third spacewalk this week by members of the
station's six-man crew. NASA astronauts Rich Mastracchio and
Mike Hopkins made spacewalks on Saturday and Tuesday to replace
a failed cooling pump.
During the first part of Friday's planned seven-hour outing,
the Russian cosmonauts set up a high-definition video camera on
a swiveling platform and a medium-resolution still imager for
Vancouver-based UrtheCast Corp.
The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, agreed to host the
cameras on the $100 billion station, a project of 15 countries,
in exchange for rights to use images and video taken over
Russia. UrtheCast has commercial rights to images and video of
the rest of the world, company Chief Executive Scott Larson told
UrtheCast intends to sell data to companies and government
agencies that buy Earth-observing satellite imagery. It also
plans to stream images over the Internet for free to
subscribers, with the aim of attracting advertisers and
Both ventures are on hold after an unknown glitch kept the
cameras, located outside the station's Zvezda command module,
from communicating with ground stations.
"Unfortunately, those cameras ... did not provide any
electrical signals on the ground," Navias said.
In an email to Reuters, UrtheCast said there was "an issue
with the connectivity to the cameras."
"We decided to have the cameras brought back into the (space
station) while Roscosmos works on resolving connectivity," the
Kotov and Ryazanskiy disconnected the cameras and cabling,
which cut into time allotted to replace several science
experiments. The cosmonauts ended up spending eight hours and
seven minutes outside the space station, the longest spacewalk
in Russian space history.
The world record longest spacewalk was an 8-hour, 56-minute
excursion by NASA astronauts Susan Helms and Jim Voss in March