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New Space Station Cameras Have Glitches

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Cuba appears at the top of this high oblique image, photographed by one of the Expedition 38 crew members aboard the International Space Station. (Source: NASA.gov)

Cuba appears at the top of this high oblique image, photographed by one of the Expedition 38 crew members aboard the International Space Station. (Source: NASA.gov)

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CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami/AP) – A pair of Russian astronauts who performed a spacewalk on Monday to install two new cameras ran into a couple of glitches.

Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy quickly got one of two commercially provided cameras installed outside the International Space Station, a task requiring multiple power connections. Everything checked out well with this high-definition camera, unlike the post-Christmas spacewalk where no data emanated from the cameras.

But the second, medium-resolution camera did not provide good data to ground controllers after its installation.

Ryazanskiy redid the electrical connections, with no luck. He spotted no damage.

“I put everything in place as it used to be, maybe even better,” Ryazanskiy radioed. “I think it’s much better.”

But still, the data link was flawed.

“Sergey, don’t overdo it there,” Russian Mission Control said, warning him not to damage the connectors.

The spacewalkers worked so hard — determined to accomplish the job this time — that Russian Mission Control outside Moscow urged them early in the spacewalk to “get your breath.”

“We’ll force ourselves to rest,” one of the spacewalkers replied in Russian.

The astronauts had hooked up the Earth-observing cameras during a spacewalk right after Christmas. But ground controllers received no data from the cameras, and the spacewalkers had to haul everything back in.

The problem was traced to indoor cabling and thought to be fixed.

Images from these new cameras will be distributed by the Canadian company that owns them, UrtheCast Corp. The cameras were launched to the space station last November in a deal between the Vancouver-based UrtheCast and the Russian Space Agency.

UrtheCast said it will post near-real-time video on its website and sell images. The company envisions customers wanting video feeds for environmental, agricultural and humanitarian purposes.

The company expects it will take three months to calibrate the cameras, and that the system should be fully operational by summer.

Because of all the camera data trouble during the Dec. 27 spacewalk, which dragged on for eight hours, Kotov and Ryazanskiy had to put off other chores. Those tasks were completed Monday.

The four other space station astronauts — two Americans, one Japanese and another Russian — kept tabs on the spacewalk from inside.

Russian flight controllers outside Moscow directed Monday’s 260-mile-high excursion.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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