Two Soviet cosmonauts floated for more than two hours outside their orbiting Salyut 6 space station yesterday, testing a new type of suit and setting a new Soviet spacewalking record.
During the 125-minute spacewalk, cosmonaults Vladimir Kovalyonok and Alexander Ivanchenkov said they examined equipment mounted on the station, the accompanying Progress 2 vehicle used for ferrying supplies, and their own Soyuz 29, in which they were blasted into orbit June 15.
Kovalyonok, 37, and Ivanchenkov, 33, are the fourth team of cosmonauts to successfully board the orbiting Salyut 6 station since it was placed in orbit last September.
Kovalyonok, mission commander, filmed his colleague during part of their walk. His footage in color was relayed to earth and shown on Moscow television last night.
The length of the Salyut mission and repeated trips to it by Soviet cosmonauts are interpreted by experts here as indicating the Soviet space program is focused on building permanent orbital platforms.
The news agency Tass said the two cosmonauts yesterday dismantled instruments and devices located on the outer shell of Salyut 6, and loaded them into their Soyuz 29 craft for shipment to earth. New instruments, including devices for radiation measurement, were mounted at the same time on Salyut.
Among the equipment to be taken back to earth are instruments for measurement of micrometeor activity, and those dealing with research on "polymers, optical and other structural material used in building advance spacecraft," Tass said.
The characteristics of the new space suit were not disclosed. The cosmonauts said only that their "semi stiff" clothes are well designed. They also said their life-supporting systems were improved and that these facilitated movement and "beter fixation outside the station."
Yesterday's spacewalk was the third in Moscow's space program. Last December Gregory Grechko made an 88-minute walk while visiting the Salyut 6 space station.
Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov made the first sortie in March, 1965 when he walked for 20 minutes in space.
Soviet newspapers yesterday hailed the current mission as a major contribution to space research. Instruments and materials that had been mounted on Salyut 6 for more than 10 months will now be analyzed by scientists.
There were no indications here when the two cosmonauts would return to earth. But knowledgeable observers suggested that the next mission - Soyuz 30 - would probably come soon and that its objective would be a marathon stay aboard the orbiting station.