Jan. 19 (UPI) — Two Russian cosmonauts will conduct the first spacewalk of 2022 outside the International Space Station on Wednesday morning to perform work that will allow spacecraft to dock with a new Russian segment of the orbiting laboratory.
Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, plan to exit the space station around 7 a.m. EST, according to NASA. The spacewalk could last about seven hours.
The pair will install handrails, rendezvous antennas, a television camera and docking targets on Prichal module, which was launched and attached to the space station in November.
Prichal serves as a port where Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying people can dock. The first such mission in March will carry three cosmonauts.
The spacewalk will be Shkaplerov’s third and Dubrov’s fourth.
Prichal is attached to the Russian Nauka module, which arrived at the space station in July. Russia’s new investments in the international endeavor are seen as confirmation it intends to remain a partner in the space station through 2030, the extent of its expected lifespan.
During future spacewalks, cosmonauts will prepare a European robotic arm on the Nauka and activate its airlock for future spacewalk activity.