Two astronauts — one European and one Russian — exited the airlock on the International Space Station for a spacewalk on Thursday, marking the first time in more than 20 years such a joint endeavor has taken place, APA reports citing CNN.
Expedition 67 crewmates Oleg Artemyev of Russia's federal space corporation Roscosmos and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency (ESA) spent 7 hours and 5 minutes further configuring a new robotic arm for the Russian segment of the space station, and hand deploying a series of small satellites.
Working about an hour behind schedule — the two were about 50 minutes late to exit the airlock on the Poisk module at 10:50 a.m. EDT (1450 GMT) — Artemyev and Cristoforetti were still able to complete all but one of the goals planned for the excursion.
Spacewalks are a routine endeavor on the ISS, but they typically involve two Americans or Europeans, an American and a European, or two Russians working together. The last time a European astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut left the ISS together wearing Russian-made Orlan spacesuits was in April of 1999, according to NASA. (An American and a Russian also did a joint spacewalk in 2009.)
Thursday’s spacewalk is Cristoforetti’s first and Artemyev’s sixth. Their joint venture comes as tensions on Earth between Russia and the United States and its allies have hit a fever pitch amid the Ukrainian war, though NASA has repeatedly said the conflict has not affected cooperation in space.