Culbertson, making his first spacewalk, and Dezhurov, completing his third spacewalk of this Expedition and his eighth overall, opened the hatch on the Pirs compartment at 3:41 p.m. CST (21:41 GMT) and went right to work, successfully hooking up seven telemetry cables between Pirs and the Zvezda Service Module to complete the installation of the Kurs automated rendezvous system, which will be used to guide approaching Russian vehicles for docking to the Pirs in the future. Pirs serves as both a docking port and an airlock for spacewalks out of the Russian segment of the ISS.
Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, who conducted two previous spacewalks in October with Dezhurov, monitored tonight's activities from inside the ISS and operated the Canadarm2 robotic arm, providing television views for flight controllers in Houston and Moscow and lighting for the spacewalkers as they conducted their tasks.
Standing in foot restraints on the Zvezda, Culbertson and Dezhurov also conducted an inspection of a solar array panel on the service module which failed to deploy properly during its launch on July 12, 2000. The stuck panel has had no impact on station operations or the electrical capability of the Russian segment. Culbertson snapped a number of pictures of the array for analysis by Russian engineers.
Culbertson and Dezhurov wrapped up the spacewalk by testing the capability of the newly installed Russian Strela cargo crane, which was attached to Pirs back on October 8. They used a crank to extend the Strela to its fully extended length of some 30 feet, then raised and lowered the crane from an operator's post at the base of the boom. Strela will be used to maneuver cosmonauts and cargo around the Russian modules of the ISS during future spacewalks.
Finally, the spacewalkers reentered Pirs and closed the hatch at 8:45 p.m. CST (2:45 GMT Tuesday) to complete the 29th spacewalk in support of ISS assembly and the fifth conducted from the station itself. In all, ISS assembly spacewalk activity has now spanned 183 hours and 18 minutes.
The crewmembers plan to relax on Tuesday before resuming a busy schedule Wednesday as they start to pack up all of their gear for their return to Earth in December on the shuttle Endeavour at the conclusion of the STS-108 mission, which will bring their replacements, the Expedition Four crew, to the ISS.
Science work aboard the station will resume this week as well following tonight's spacewalk. Oversight of ISS science investigations is the responsibility of the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The Human Research Facility is managed by the Johnson Space Center.
With systems operating normally, the station is orbiting at an average altitude of 247 statute miles (395 km).