Image: Soyuz in flight
A photograph snapped from the international space station by remote control shows the crew's Soyuz spacecraft during Friday's short flight from one port to another, with the Sahara Desert in the background. staff and news service reports
updated 11/18/2005 9:53:50 PM ET 2005-11-19T02:53:50

The two men living in orbit on board the international space station moved their Soyuz spacecraft on Friday to clear a dock for a planned spacewalk, Moscow mission control said.

Russia’s Valery Tokarev piloted the Soyuz to the Zarya cargo module on a quick 19-minute cruise that freed up the Pirs dock, which serves as an air lock.

Tokarev and NASA astronaut Bill McArthur arrived at the station in October and conducted the first spacewalk of their six-month orbital stint earlier this month from the U.S.-built Quest air lock. For their second spacewalk, the two will don Russian-made spacesuits and exit through the Pirs hatch.

During the outing, the astronauts will move a cargo crane adapter, collect science experiments from the hull of the station's Zvezda service module and manually launch an expired Russian spacesuit equipped with amateur radio equipment.

Called SuitSat, the experiment is designed to see if ham radio contacts can be made with a free-flying transmitter.

The spacewalk had been set for Dec. 7, but Russian news media reported that it might be rescheduled for early next year to reduce the pressure on the crew's schedule.

Station astronauts periodically have to shift their Soyuz lifeboat from one port to another to accommodate orbital operations as well as resupply. Over the next month or so, Tokarev and McArthur must finish unpacking a Progress cargo craft currently docked to the complex, then prepare it for undocking to make room for another Progress ship due to arrive on Dec. 23.

This report includes information from Reuters, NASA and

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