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Russian Astronauts Unable To Install Cameras During Spacewalk

Update Date: Dec 29, 2013 10:36 AM EST
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Two Russian cosmonauts spend more than eight hours for installing two cameras outside the International Space Station, but due to unspecified data glitch they had to retrieve the gear.

Station commander Oleg Kotov and flight engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy left the station’s Pirs airlock at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) for installing the new Earth-watching cameras for the Canadian company UrtheCast. This was a part of an agreement with Russia’s Federal Space Agency. Although they successfully installed the system but connectivity issue was reported by Russian engineers soon after the installation.

“It appears that we have seen an unsuccessful attempt at bringing those two cameras to life,” NASA spokesman Rob Navias said during spacewalk commentary, according to Huffington Post. “The exact cause of the problem is not known at this time.”

The high-resolution Urthecast Earth observation camera were designed to snap detailed views of Earth from space. The company was then supposed to provide the imagery to customers via Internet.

“UrtheCast’s two cameras will stream unprecedented footage of our evolving Earth to anyone with an internet connection,” the company’s website read. “In near real-time, you will be able to visit your favorite locales and learn about current events as they unfold.”

The spacewalk was 11th from the station in this year and third one in the previous week. The eight hour spacewalk held the record for the longest spacewalk for Russians.

“When the flight control team at the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow did not see the expected telemetry and electrical connectivity from the newly installed medium and high resolution cameras, Kotov and Ryazanskiy were directed to remove the cameras and return them to the airlock for further analysis,” NASA officials said in a statement according to Huffington Post.

“The space-walkers also were instructed to take detailed photographs of the electrical connectors mated earlier for additional review.”

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