CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Aug 18 - A pair of Russian cosmonauts
began their workweek on Monday floating outside the
International Space Station to toss out a small satellite for a
university in Peru, install science experiments and tackle some
First out of the hatch was cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, who
stood on ladder outside the station's Pirs airlock to release a
2.2-pound (1 kg), 4-inch (10 cm) cube-shaped satellite built by
students at the National University of Engineering in Lima,
Video broadcast on NASA Television showed the satellite,
called Chasqui-1, tumbling away from the back of the station as
it sailed about 260 miles (418 km) above the southern Pacific
The solar-powered spacecraft, whose name means "messenger"
in Incan, is outfitted with visible and infrared cameras to take
pictures of Earth and sensors to measure temperature and
pressure as it orbits.
Artemyev was then joined by spacewalker Alexander Skvortsov
to install a European package of experiments to the outside of
the Russian Zvezda module. The experiments include biomaterials
and extremophiles, which are organisms that can live in
extremely hostile environments.
Scientists hope to use information about how the organisms
fare in the highly radioactive and extreme temperatures of space
to devise life-detection techniques for future robotic Mars
The cosmonauts also installed a reinforcing clamp for a
communications antenna they attached during their last spacewalk
in June. Monday's to-do list includes taking samples of residue
on the outside of some of Zvezda's windows and setting up an
experiment to measure how plumes from rocket engine burns may be
impacting parts of station.
Artemyev, Skvortsov and NASA station commander Steve Swanson
are five months into a planned six-month mission. Also aboard
the complex are NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, European astronaut
Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, who arrived
on May 28.
The station, a $100 billion research laboratory for
materials and life science experiments, technology
demonstrations and other microgravity research, is a partnership
of 15 nations that has been occupied by rotating crews of
astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.
The spacewalk, which began shortly after 10 a.m. EDT (1400
GMT), is expected to last about six hours.
(Editing by Susan Heavey)