Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Russian becomes oldest spacewalker

22 April 2013, 08:49

Cape Canaveral - A 59-year-old Russian cosmonaut became the world's oldest spacewalker on Friday, joining a much younger cosmonaut's son for maintenance work outside the International Space Station.

Pavel Vinogradov, a cosmonaut for two decades, claimed the honour as he emerged from the hatch with Roman Romanenko. But he inadvertently added to the booming population of space junk when he lost his grip on an experiment tray that he was retrieving toward the end of the spacewalk of over six hours.

The lost aluminium panel - 46cm by 31cm and about 3kg - contained metal samples. Scientists wanted to see how the samples had fared after a year out in the vacuum of space.

Otherwise, the spacewalk had gone well, with the spacewalkers installing new science equipment and replacing a navigation device needed for the June arrival of a European cargo ship.

Collecting the experiment tray was Vinogradov's last task outside.

Similar experiments

The tray drifted toward the solar panels of the main Russian space station compartment, called Zvezda, Russian for Star. Flight controllers did not believe it struck anything, and the object was not thought to pose a safety hazard in the hours and days ahead.

"That's unfortunate," someone radioed in Russian.

Another panel of similar experiments will be collected on a future spacewalk.

This is the first of eight spacewalks to be conducted this year, most of them by Russians. Two will be led by Nasa later in the year.

Until Friday, the oldest spacewalker was retired astronaut Story Musgrave, who was 58 when he helped fix the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993.

Romanenko, 41, is a second-generation spaceman who's following in his father's boot steps. Retired cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko performed spacewalks back in the 1970s and 1980s. This is the son's first experience out in the vacuum of space.

Vinogradov made his seventh spacewalk; he ventured into a dark, ruptured chamber at Russia's old Mir space station in 1997 following a cargo ship collision. He arrived late last month for a six-month stay at the space station; he'll turn 60 aboard the orbiting complex in August.

The spacewalkers joked as they toiled 420km above the planet.

"I'm afraid of the darkness," one of them said in Russian as the space station passed over the night side of Earth.

Russian flight controllers outside Moscow oversaw Friday's action. The four other space station residents monitored the activity from inside; Canadian commander Chris Hadfield drew the short straw and had to work on a balky toilet.

- AP

Tags nasa space

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
George Vodongo
China to help Kenya fight high le...

China observed that if left unchecked, corruption could see the country degenerate into lawlessness. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Signs that he is seeing someone e...

When a man wants to be with you, he will always create time to be with you. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Spat between DP Ruto and Boniface...

A close associate of the DP, Hon Njogu Barua made an alarming comment on live TV Tuesday morning. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Matatu driver who drugged, robbed...

The driver of a Nissan matatu who over the weekend drugged and robbed a female passenger in Nairobi has been charged. Read more...

Submitted by
Gabriel Ngallah
Heavy police contingent deployed ...

More police officers were on Monday deployed at Likoni in Mombasa County in a security operation to nab members of the ‘Wakali Kwanza’ and ‘Mtalia’ criminal gangs who have been terrorizing locals in the area. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Man released on Presidential amne...

He was caught taking money from a church offering bag at Ol Jabet Independent Pentecostal Church in Laikipia West on October 23. Read more...