This image from a NASA space shuttle mission shows the International Space Station in orbit. The space station is the size of a football field and home to six astronauts. Image taken: Feb. 10, 2010.
Two Russian cosmonauts will venture outside of the International Space Station for six hours today (June 24) on a spacewalk test and upgrade systems on the orbiting lab's exterior.
Veteran cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and crewmate Alexander Misurkin are scheduled to begin their orbital work at 9:35 a.m. EDT (1335 GMT). This will mark the sixth career spacewalk for Yurchikhin and Misurkin's first.
You can watch the spacewalk live on SPACE.com courtesy of NASA TV. The webcast begins at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT).
The cosmonauts are expected to test automatic docking cables in anticipation of a new Russian module scheduled to arrive at the station later this year. Misurkin and Yurchikhin also plan to install clamps that will hold cables from the station's U.S. side that will power the new module on the Russian side of the laboratory.
They will also install handhold to aid in future spacewalks, retrieve experiments from the outside of the station and "replace a fluid flow control valve panel on the Zarya module," NASA officials said in a spacewalk description.
This is the first spacewalk since two NASA astronauts performed an unplanned, emergency spacewalk to fix an ammonia leak on the outside of the space station in May. The spacewalk by Misurkin and Yurchikhin will mark the 169th in support of station care and construction.
The two cosmonauts are joined on the space station by NASA's Karen Nyberg and Chris Cassidy, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russia's Pavel Vinogradov.
The orbiting laboratory is about the size of a five bedroom house with the wingspan of a football field. The $100 billion International Space Station was built by five space agencies representing 15 countries. Construction began in 1998 and has been staffed with rotating crews of astronauts continuously since 2000.