Two Russian cosmonauts are taking a spacewalk outside the International Space Station Wednesday (Nov. 18) to prepare the orbiting laboratory for a new module, and you can watch their six-hour excursion live online.
Expedition 64 Cmdr. Sergey Ryzhikov and flight engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Russia's space agency Roscosmos — both first-time spacewalkers — will suit up in their Russian Orlan spacesuits and exit the space station through the Poisk module at approximately 9:30 a.m. EST (1430 GMT). Ryzhikov, designated EV1 (short for "extravehicular crewmember 1"), will don a spacesuit with red stripes, while Kud-Sverchkov will sport blue stripes as EV2.
NASA TV will provide live coverage of the spacewalk beginning at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT), or about one hour before the start of the spacewalk, as NASA astronaut Kate Rubins helps the cosmonauts into their suits. You can watch it live here, on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, or directly via the agency's website.
With this spacewalk, the two Sergeys will begin work to prepare the International Space Station (ISS) for the arrival of the new Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module, also known as Nauka (Russian for "science"). The long-delayed science module was originally supposed to launch in 2007, and after more than a decade of delays, Roscosmos is gearing up to finally launch Nauka in 2021.
Because this will be the first time that anyone has used the Poisk module as an airlock for a spacewalking excursion, the cosmonauts will first spend some time checking out the hatch and inspecting it for leaks.
They will also fetch an antenna from the Pirs docking compartment and bring it back to the Poisk module, the first in a series of steps to get rid of Pirs altogether. Roscosmos plans to install Nauka where Pirs is now, on the Zvezda service module of the Russian segment of the ISS.
It will take a series of spacewalks to decommission the Pirs compartment, after which a Progress cargo spacecraft will carry it away from the ISS. Pirs will be destroyed in Earth's atmosphere upon reentry.
Other tasks for today's spacewalk include replacing a fluid flow regulator on the Zarya module, retrieving hardware that measures space debris impacts, and adjusting an instrument that measures residue from thruster firings, NASA officials said in a statement.
Email Hanneke Weitering at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.