Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemiev ventured out for a spacewalk on Monday and set free a small Peruvian research satellite. The space walk also included installing fresh science experiments and retrieving old ones.
The Peruvian satellite is just 4 inches square and weighs 2 pounds. Its cameras are focused towards Earth and it will be a technological learning experience for the National University of Engineering in Lima. The nano satellite has been named Chasqui (CHOS-key) after the Inca messengers who were fleet footed.
The satellite was in the form of a 4 inch box off which was cast by Russian Oleg Artemiev with his gloved right hand from the International Space Station. The ISS floated majestically, 260 miles above the cloud flecked planet and the nano satellite cleared the orbiting complex and was inserted in the precise orbit as planned. Meanwhile Oleg’s partner Alexander Skvortsov kept his helmet camera focused on the satellite as it floated away.
The nano satellite weighed barely 2 pounds and boasts instruments to measure temperature and pressure. It also features a camera which will photograph the Earth. It was a learning experience for the makers of the satellite, the National University of Engineering in Lima.
After launching the nano satellite, the two cosmonauts set about installing fresh science experiments outside the Russian portion of the space station and retrieving old ones. The two cosmonauts had earlier conducted a spacewalk in June. The ISS is now inhabited by 4 other men- another Russian, two Americans and one German.
American spacewalks are under hold now. NASA was hoping to get on with the space walks this month but had to delay it until fall so that fresh spacesuit batteries are on board. The spacesuit batteries are expected to be delivered by Dragon supply ship next month by SpaceX Company. Engineers were worried about a bug in the fuses of the on board batteries. Even before the battery issue spacesuit problem almost killed an Italian Astronaut last summer. Water from the space suit’s cooling system flooded the Italian Astronaut’s helmet almost choking him. The investigation into the incident is complete and new safety measures have been added into US Space suits.