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MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. Russian cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Yuri Malenchenko have taken samples from the International Space Station (ISS) exterior within the framework of the Test experiment, the Mission Control Centre (MCC) outside Moscow reported on Wednesday.
The cosmonauts have taken swab samples from the exterior of the Pirs module in the area of the exit hatch. The Test experiment aims to obtain swab samples from the various surfaces on the exterior of the Space Station to assess the effect of the microorganisms on the ISS surface on the station’s structure. The experiment is to study weathering of different materials in the space environment characterized by harsh thermal variations, high doses of radiation and atomic oxygen causing corrosion. The test samplers consist of pairs of collection devices for the acquisition of swab samples and containers to protect the samplers. The samples will be taken to Earth for a chemical, toxicological and microbiological analysis.
Volkov and Malenchenko have also taken similar samples from the cover of a window of the Zvezda service module.
Yuri Malenchenko and Sergei began a planned 5.5-hour spacewalk from the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 7:55 a.m. EST, according to NASA. Both spacewalkers are wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits. Prior to the start of Wednesday’s spacewalk, Malenchenko has spent 30 hours and five minutes outside the space station in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Volkov has previously accumulated 18 hours and 35 minutes.