Two Russian cosmonauts have returned to the International Space Station after successfully completing their second space walk in eight days.
During the five-and-a-half-hour long mission on Wednesday, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov attached a new protective shield outside the station. The 12 newly installed panels will provide better protection against meteorite showers and other space debris.
Yurchikhin and Kotov also strung Ethernet cable along the space station's Russian module. The connection is to improve communication among various segments of the station.
They also placed a container of biological organisms, including mosquito larvae, outside the station for a scientific experiment.
The space station crew is now gearing up for the arrival of the shuttle Atlantis, which is slated for launch on Friday.
U.S. astronaut Sunita Wiliams, who is a member of the 15th resident crew on the International Space Station, is set to return to Earth on the shuttle Atlantis.
She will be replaced by U.S. astronaut Clayton Anderson, who will be brought by Atlantis to the space station.