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Cosmonauts complete VKD-62 spacewalk

On April 25, 2024, members of Expedition 71 Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub exited the Russian Segment of the International Space Station, ISS, successfully deploying a stuck radar antenna and swapping several experiments, while cutting two hours from the originally planned 6.5-hour VKD-62 spacewalk.


VKD-62 spacewalk at a glance:

Spacewalker 1 Oleg Kononenko, Orlan-MKS suit No. 5 with red stripes
Spacewalker 2 Nikolai Chub, Orlan-MKS suit No. 4 with blue stripes
Duration 4 hours 36 minutes (actual); 6 hours 36 minutes (planned)
Hatch opening 2024 April 25, 17:57 Moscow Time (actual); 17:55 Moscow Time (planned)
Hatch closure 2024 April 25, 22:33 Moscow Time (actual); 00:41 Moscow Time (planned)
Airlock MIM2 Poisk
ISS expedition 71
ISS overall spacewalk 270


Key tasks in the VKD-62 spacewalk according to Roskosmos.

The VKD-62 spacewalk, staged from the Poisk module, MIM2, had the main objective of completing the deployment of the Rakurs synthetic remote-sensing radar for the Napor-miniRSA experiment on the exterior of the Nauka module, MLM. The four-section radar panel was first installed during the VKD-61 spacewalk in October 2023, but one of its sections failed to lock in opened position. Several additional tasks in the spacewalk involved installation, removal, adjustment and operation of five scientific experiments.

At the start of the planned 6-hour 36-minute sortie, Nikolai Chub was scheduled to exit Poisk first, while Oleg Kononenko would transfer him a cube-shaped adapter platform from the interior of the module, so it could be pre-posited on a railing just outside the hatch for later use. The cosmonauts were then expected to activate their cameras and translate along a Strela cargo boom from Poisk to Nauka.

The work outside the station was expected to start on the outer end of the Nauka module, where the cosmonauts would attempt to complete the deployment of the Napor-miniRSA radar panel. If that major objective was completed on schedule, they had an optional task of taking samples from the surface of the Nauka module for the Test experiment.

The cosmonauts were then expected to return to Poisk. Here, based on the time available, Kononenko had to swing around the module and remove one of the two canisters with the Biorisk-MSN experiment, after dismantling an old mounting boom in its way. Kononenko, would have to bring the Biorisk canister into the interior of the station, while the mounting boom would be left on Poisk's exterior for discarding into space during a subsequent spacewalk.

In the meantime, Chub was scheduled to translate to the multi-purpose work station, URM-D, located at Plane II of the Zvezda Service Module, where he would remove the RK-21-8 adapter and carry it back to Poisk.

The cosmonauts would then have to work together to install a platform with adapters on the back side of Poisk and then attach the RK-21-8 adapter to the platform.

After translating further along the circumference of the Poisk module, the cosmonauts would pass the BKDO science instrument, which would have to be turned 180 degrees for continuing space environment research. The cosmonauts would then reach back to the hatch on Poisk, where Kononenko would reenter the airlock, store the Biorisk canister inside and extract hardware for the Kvartz-M and TKK-KM experiments.

The Kvartz equipment was intended for studies of corrosion within the Kvartz-M experiment. According to Roskosmos, it would make it possible to determine the environmental parameters around the ISS, define the most critical areas and sources of corrosion on various materials and structures of the station.

The TKK-KM unit represented a transformable composite polymer structure with memory shape capability. It was scheduled to be deployed within the Perspektiva-KM experiment, Roskosmos said.

Chub would have to mount the Kvartz equipment on the newly installed RK adapter, while Kononenko would mount the TKK-KM experiment on the adapter platform, followed by the electric connections of both units to outlets not far from the ingress hatch on Poisk. The cosmonauts would then be ready to return to the station after a routine checks of their spacesuits and equipment.

According to Roskosmos, VKD-62 was the 72nd Russian spacewalk aboard the ISS and the 62nd planned spacewalk.

On April 25, 2024, Russian mission control displayed the following planned timeline for VKD-62 during evening hours of April 25 and early hours Moscow Time on April 26:

  • 15:05 — 15:50 Moscow Time: Suiting up, entering spacesuits;
  • 15:50 — 17:49 Moscow Time: Closure of the transfer hatch (between Poisk and Zvezda), airlock operations;
  • 17:49 — 17:57 Moscow Time: Opening of the egress hatch of the MIM2 (Poisk) module;
  • 17:57 — 00:45 Moscow Time: VKD-62 spacewalk operations;
  • 00:41 — 00:45 Moscow Time: Closure of the ingress hatch;
  • 00:45 — 01:45 Moscow Time: Airlock re-pressurization.

Cosmonauts perform VKD-62 spacewalk


Kononenko (left) and Chub prepare for the VKD-62 spacewalk.

After completing airlock operations, Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub opened the hatch of the Poisk module as planned on April 25, 2024, at around 17:57 Moscow Time, just minutes before the station emerged from the shadow of the Earth into daylight at 18:05:00 Moscow Time. The protective ring on the hatch was reported installed at around 18:03 Moscow Time and the cosmonauts then immediately started egress from Poisk.

The cosmonauts then used the Strela boom to transfer from the Poisk to the Nauka module, where Chub reached the radar antenna. After some struggle, he was able to close all the latches of the lose antenna segment with the help of a special tool and fix it in opened position at around 47 minutes into the spacewalk, well ahead of schedule.

The cosmonauts then headed back toward Poisk at around 19:00 Moscow Time, as the ISS moved into the first orbital sunset of the spacewalk, while flying over the Indian Ocean at 19:02:30 Moscow Time. The cosmonauts were back at Poisk around 10 minutes later.

At around 19:17 Moscow Time, and 1 hour 20 minutes into the spacewalk, mission control advised the spacewalkers to take a five-minute break before transition to their next objective.

The cosmonauts then transferred to a work site on the Poisk module. Chub removed the RK-21-8 adapter at around 19:30 Moscow Time, around eight minutes before another orbital sunrise at 19:37:51 Moscow Time. At around 19:38 Moscow Time, mission control advised the cosmonauts to take another short break before proceeding with the removal of a platform with adapters. At around 19:50 Moscow Time, the spacewalkers connected the adapter platform to the BTP2 attachment point on Poisk and mounted the RK-21-8 adapter on top of it, 1 hours 54 minutes into the spacewalk. The spacewalkers then took photos of the newly installed equipment and of each other.


Chub then got back inside Poisk and extracted the Kvartz and TKK-KM experiment equipment, handing it over to Kononenko stationed outside the hatch. Chub then rejoined Kononenko outside Poisk at around 20:17 Moscow Time. In the meantime, Kononenko moved to the opposite side of Poisk with the experiment equipment and Chub joined him there at around 20:22 Moscow Time and around 2 hours 25 minutes into the spacewalk. They mounted the Kvartz package on the newly installed RK adapter and installed the TKK-KM package on the adapter platform, around two hours ahead of the VKD-62 schedule.

Following the installation of the instruments, the cosmonauts proceeded to making electrical connections at 20:35:20 Moscow Time, as the station plunged into the Earth's shadow once again.

At around 21:00 Moscow Time, just three hours into the spacewalk and 11 minutes before exiting the Earth's shadow at 21:10:41 Moscow Time, the cosmonauts had largely completed initial electrical connections for the payloads and performed video and photo-documentation of the work site. Working in daylight conditions, they then proceeded with routing the cables to their destinations, which involved installation of new cable clamps on the handrails of the Poisk module.

At around 21:42 Moscow Time, the cosmonauts got the go from mission control to make connections of the cables to the station and two minutes later, 3 hours 47 minutes into the spacewalk, mission control confirmed via telemetry a good electrical contact with the payloads. At the time, the cosmonauts were still reported to be around two hours ahead of their spacewalk timeline with all its main and secondary objectives completed, including the re-positioning of the BKDO instrument, the Biorisk-MSN container removal and the sampling of the exterior surface for the Test experiment.

At around 21:50 Moscow Time and nearly four hours into the VKD-62 spacewalk, mission control advised the cosmonauts to inspect their suits in preparation for reentering the Poisk module. Managers on the ground wanted to finish the suit inspection before sunset, which took place right after 22:08:01 Moscow Time and lasted until 22:43:31 Moscow Time. After sunset, the cosmonauts wiped one suspected area one of their spacesuits with a special towel, which was then secured to an outside handrail. The spacewalkers also conducted the final inventory of the equipment used in the spacewalk.

After reentering Poisk between 22:13 and 22:20 Moscow Time, the cosmonauts removed the protective ring from the hatch periphery at 22:21 Moscow Time, performed drying of the suit sublimators and then closed the hatch at 22:33 Moscow Time, marking the official end of the VKD-62 spacewalk after 4 hours 36 minutes.

According to NASA, it was the 270th spacewalk in the history of the ISS project, but the first for the station's operations in 2024. (INSIDER CONTENT). For Kononenko it was the seventh spacewalk with a total of 44 hours 33 minutes outside. At the same time, VKD-62 was the second spacewalk for Chub who has logged 12 hours and 17 minutes in open space. After VKD-62, the ISS inhabitants totaled 71 days 11 hours and 25 minutes on the exterior of the station, NASA said.

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This page is maintained by Anatoly Zak; Last update: May 8, 2024

Page editor: Alain Chabot; Last edit: April 30, 2024

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Nikolai Chub's camera shows latches of the radar in unlocked position, before he attempts to complete the deployment. Click to enlarge. Credit: NASA


Nikolai Chub works with a pliers-like hand tool to close latches designed to hold sections of the radar panel in fully deployed position. Click to enlarge. Credit: NASA


Nikolai Chub's camera shows latches of the radar panel in locked position, after his successful attempt to complete the deployment of the instrument. Click to enlarge. Credit: NASA


Nikolai Chub returns a Biorisk-MSN container to the Poisk module during the VKD-62 spacewalk. Click to enlarge. Credit: NASA


Nikolai Chub carries the adapter platform during the VKD-62 spacewalk. Click to enlarge. Credit: NASA


The cosmonauts install the adapter platform on the BTP2 point on the Poisk module during the VKD-62 spacewalk. Click to enlarge. Credit: NASA


Oleg Kononenko photographs the newly installed RK-28-1 adapter, as seen by Nikolai Chub's helmet camera during VKD-62 spacewalk. Click to enlarge. Credit: NASA


The cosmonauts connect the newly installed experiments (top left) to the power supply source during VKD-62. Click to enlarge. Credit: NASA