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Cosmonauts to re-install Canadian photographic and video cameras on ISS surface

The overall duration of extravehicular activity by ISS mission commander Kotov and flight engineer Ryazansky on the outer surface of the Station is to be six hours

MOSCOW, January 27, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky are to re-install photographic and video cameras made by the Canadian UrtheCast Company on the service module Zvezda (star) of the Internatonal Space Station (ISS) on Monday, an official in the press service of the Flight Control Center (FCC) outside Moscow told Itar-Tass.

"The opening of hatches (for egress) is scheduled for 18:10 on Monday and their closure at 00:10, Moscow time, on Tuesday. The overall duration of extravehicular activity by ISS mission commander Kotov and flight engineer Ryazansky on the outer surface of the Station is to be six hours. During this unscheduled spacewalk, the cosmonauts are to finalize the work which they did not manage to accomplish during the previous spacwalk in December last year," the FCC official said.

The high-resolution cameras, which are to take pictures of the Eart from the outer surface of the ISS and the manufacture of which had taken three years, were brought to orbit by the Russian resupply spacecraft Progress M-21M on Novembr 30, 2013. During the spacewalk on December 27, last year, Kotov and Ryazansky secured them on a special platform on the hull of the module Zvezda and attached the wires. However, the FCC was not able to receive telemetric data from the cameras. The cosmonauts had to dismantle them and bring them bact to the Station. Specialists managed to establish that the lack of signal was caused by malfunction in one of the ISS cables.

The cameras are designed to transmit the pictures of terrestrial surface round-the-clock. "The hull of the ISS is the ideal place for fixing the cameras that will enable people down here to have a space view of themselves without control on the part of any government organization," Dan Lopez, the UrtheCast director for technology, remarked earlier. Any Earth dweller, who has access to the Internet will be able to admire the pictures of the Earth on the website of the Company free of charge, he added.

According to Larry Reeves, one of the leading engineers of the Company, the pictures to be received from the cameras will be placed on the website with an about one hour lag.

The cameras are capable of taking pictures and do video recordings, with a spatial resolution of one metre, of a vast territory stretching from 51 degrees, northern latitude, to 51 degrees south. The territory accounts for 90 percent of the planet's population. On pictures taken by the cameras, one will be able to discern motor vehicles, aircraft, sea-going ships, buildings, stadiums, and groups of people bu not their faces.

Provision is made for paid services for thosew ho would want to direct the cameras to show some specific place on Earth. The UrtheCast Company expects that among its clients there will be governments, organizations and corporations. According to Scott Larson president of the Canadian firm, it would be possible to use information to be received from the cameras for educational and environmental purposes, to trace the migration of animals, to estimate the condition of forests and farmland, the pollution of water reservoirs, and the aftermath of earthquakes.