It’s the first of what could be up to 11 spacewalks by the cosmonauts as they work on Nauka, a multipurpose laboratory module that includes additional space for research and sleeping quarters. The next spacewalk, expected to last about five hours, is scheduled for September 9.
Nauka launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 21 and docked on July 29.
During Friday’s spacewalk, Novitskiy and Dubrov will connect cables for power, ethernet and data between Nauka and the Russian Zvezda service module. The two cosmonauts will install handrails and complete any leftover tasks for the cable routing work during the September 9 spacewalk.
For both spacewalks, Novitskiy will be extravehicular crew member 1 in the Russian Orlan spacesuit with the red stripes, and Dubrov will wear the spacesuit with the blue stripes as extravehicular crew member 2.
The outings will be the second and third spacewalks for both Dubrov and Novitskiy, as well as the 242nd and 243rd spacewalks in support of assembling, maintaining and upgrading the space station.
Meanwhile, a spacewalk scheduled for August 24, which was to include NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, will now take place on September 12 — with some changes.
While no further details about this issue — outside of the fact that it was not a medical emergency — have been shared, Vande Hei will now provide internal support during the September 12 spacewalk as he continues to recover.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet will take his place alongside Hoshide. During the walk, Hoshide and Pesquet will install a modification kit that will prepare for future Roll-Out Solar Array installation work.
This will be the first spacewalk conducted out of the orbiting laboratory’s Quest airlock by two international partner astronauts at the space station, according to NASA.
A 360-degree virtual reality camera will film Hoshide and Pesquet during their spacewalk.
CNN’s Kristin Fisher contributed to this report.