Records are meant to be broken and this was no exception, as two Russian cosmonauts managed to break the longest duration Spacewalk outside the international space station. They are members of Expedition 54 and are Cmdr. Alexander Misurkin and flight engineer Anton Shkaplerov. They remained outside for eight hours and 13 minutes, which was five minutes longer than that of Expedition 38 cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazanski on Dec. 27, 2013.

Space reports that the record was created on Groundhog Day, and their task was to remove an obsolete piece of Russian equipment.

It was an old electronics box for an antenna linked to one of the service modules. The box was installed in 2000 and had been idle for 17 years due to several problems, including that of funds.

Spacewalks from the ISS

Astronauts and cosmonauts have to leave the confines of the International Space Station once in a while. They are usually engaged in research work but, at times, they have to undertake specific tasks associated with the installation of new equipment to improve the effectiveness of the Skylab. Or - remove some of them. In this case, it was the latter and the cosmonauts had to upgrade the communications system on the Russian side of the ISS. They had to remove an electronics box to install an antenna on the external side of a service module.

It seems the box was of 1990 vintage and had become obsolete and incompatible with modern day technology.

The current spacewalk was the second one for this year and the 207th since the beginning. With this, Misurkin has completed four such walks as a cosmonaut and has a total of 28 hours and 14 minutes to his credit. It was the second one for his partner Shkaplerov, and he now has 14 hours and 28 minutes.

Space is the new frontier

The International Space Station has been in service since the late 1990s to help the cause of space travel. It has been manned by teams of astronauts and cosmonauts consisting of scientists drawn from the US, Russia, Japan, Canada, and Europe. They are rotated regularly and any agency that wants to face the challenges in space would have to rely on data that has been generated by this sky lab.

Mars One and SpaceX want to colonize the red planet Mars. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic plans to conduct space tourism. Other agencies are lining up to extract minerals from the Moon. The ISS would probably be a logical halt for them, and the ability to undertake spacewalks would come in handy.