CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Russian cosmonauts are taking a spacewalk to fling tiny satellites into orbit and install an antenna for tracking birds on Earth.
Oleg Artemyev (Ar-TEH-mee-ehv) and Sergey Prokopyev (Pro-KOH-pee-ehv) floated out of the International Space Station on Wednesday.
Their first job is to release four research satellites as small as a tissue box. They also will hook up an antenna and other gear for a German-led, animal-tracking project known as Icarus. The project will start out tracking blackbirds and turtle doves with small GPS tags, then move on to other songbirds, fruit bats and bigger wildlife.
Project director Martin Wikelski of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany says researchers can better understand animal behavior through lifelong monitoring. He says the goal is to protect "our wild pets."