Astronauts Conduct A Spacewalk At International Space Station To Prepare It For Commercial Spacecraft Docking

By Jeff Thompson - 25 Mar '17 18:23PM
  • In Focus: Scott Kelly's Year In Space
  • (Photo : NASA via Getty) Astronauts will conduct two more spacewalks in the next two weeks to make a secondary dock port.

In a recent development, two astronauts conducted a spacewalk at International Space Station (ISS) on Friday. Interestingly, this is the first among three of the scheduled spacewalks planned at ISS for the next couple of weeks to prepare it for future spacecraft docking. The reports confirm that both the astronauts spent 6.5 hours outside the station to make it ready for docking.

ISS commander Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet, a French astronaut, walked in space and did a maintenance check, tried to fix the potential coolant leak, and started work on a secondary dock port for commercial spacecraft. Using the Quest airlock module, both of the astronauts switched their spacesuits by 7:24 a.m. and officially started the mission called U.S. EVA-40. Then, they moved out of the airlock module and parted ways to complete other tasks independently.

Kimbrough replaced two computer relay boxes initially with upgraded ones. Then, he continued to far left to disconnect the cables from a docking port tunnel called PMA-3 and the Tranquility module as this will help the Houston Space Center to control the docking port tunnel and move to above the Tranquility module. The PMA-3 will get a new docking port by this year's end to make the second port to ISS to facilitate commercial spacecraft docking. Later, Kimbrough moved to Japanese Kibo laboratory and replaced two television cameras which had faulty lights.

Pesquet started retrieving a foot restraint and extension from External Stowage Platform No. 2. Later, he moved to port 1 and checked the ammonia coolant plumbing and its hardware. Though there were reports of an ammonia leak, Pesquet couldn't find anything in his inspection. The video footage of the inspection would be precisely analyzed later to locate the leak which is reported by the systems. Lastly, he worked with a number of components and applied lubrication to ensure smooth functioning of the parts including the capture mechanism.

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