Two astronauts are currently participating in a NASA space walk, which is being live streamed from outside of the International Space Station
The NASA space walk wil last around 6.5 hours, and will be carried out by Expedition 55 flight engineers Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, who exited the station through the Quest airlock at around 8:10 am EDT. The live coverage of the event started at 6:30 am EDT, and started with a stream of the astronauts getting ready for the NASA space walk and putting on their spacesuits.
The goal of the NASA spacewalk is to upgrade the station’s cooling system hardware, as well as installing new communications equipment that will be used for future docking of commercial care spacecraft.
The first step of this process is to move a componentcalled the Pump FLow COntrol subassembly froma space parts platform over to an area that is within reach of the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator – also known as Dextre – which is a two-armed robot upside the station. The astronauts are also responsible for moving a failed subassembly to the spare parts area.
Once the spacewalk is finished, flight controllers back on Earth will use the Canadarm2 robotic arm and Dextre’s robotic hand in order to install the new cooling system subassembly on the port-side truss of the space station for a checkout.
The schedule to finish all these tasks is already pretty ambitious, but if there is time left in the NASA space walk, the astronauts will be replacing a camera system that is situated on the Destiny Laboratory, sa well as taking steps to upgrade the communications receiver for the commercial crew vehicles such as the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Starliner.
According to Jordan Lindsay, the lead officer for today’s spacewalk, in a briefing on May 8th, “We have a camera R&R [rest and recuperation] plan as well as a comm box…that will be part of the EVA as well.”
The astronauts taking part in the NASA space walk are no strangers to the task, with this being the eighth of Feustel’s walks as well as the fourth of Arnold’s. Overall, it’s the 210th space walk For ISS assembly, maintenance and upgrades since the complex was first launched back in 1998.
Feustel and Arnold also have a history working together, making this the second NASA space walk livestream the second trek the two have taken together – with the first back on March 29th.
There will be another NASA space walk in the future similar to the one that is on the livestream on June 14th in which the astronauts will take steps to install brackets and cameras that will help guide commercial crew vehicles into their docking port on the Harmony module.
The cameras will also play double duty in transmitting and receiving data from experiments and assemblies in Europe’s Columbus laboratory and Japan’s Kibo laboratory.
The greater support for commercial vehicles will be a big step forward for the International Space Station – giving thee vessels an easier time docking and the ability to more easily deliver both passengers as well as supplies and experiments. With SpaceX quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with, the ability to better support their ships and Boeing’s ships will be a welcome change for everyone involved.
“As we started to get more and more of the science requirements defined for the Cygnus mission, and a better understanding of the timelines to get those activities — and work to start collecting the science data — it became clear that we were really quickly surpassing the amount of crew time available that we had at the end of an increment to do both an EVA and to get some of the critical science going,”
said Kenny Todd, NASA’s ISS operations integration manager, in the same news briefing.
As mentioned above, you can watch the livestream of the NASA space walk on YouTube, and the video has been embedded below.
As of the publishing of this article, there is plenty of time left during the mission so you’ll be able to see the majority of the process if you tune in now.
LIVESTREAM VIDEO OF ASTRONAUTS SPACE WALK BELOW: