The ISS is being readied for the arrival of future commercial crewed spacecraft. The astronauts completed first of the three grueling spacewalks to lay cables for new docking adaptors that will be arriving sometime in 2017.
Two astronauts completed a marathon schedule of spacewalk which lasted for six hours and 41 minutes. The spacewalk was conducted to prepare the ISS for the arrival of next generation commercial crewed spacecraft.
NASA’s Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Terry Virts successfully accomplished all the tasks required for the first of the three spacewalks and managed to do all the preparatory work for the next spacewalk which is due on Wednesday.
The astronauts were working to lay cables in the front of the US segment. It will be providing power and communication to the two International Docking Adaptors which will be sent to the ISS in June. The new docking adaptors will accommodate the crew carrying commercial spacecraft which will be flown by SpaceX and Boeing. The new commercial spacecraft will dock with the ISS when they launch from Florida from 2017 onwards.
The two spacewalkers, Expedition 42 Commander Wilmore and Virts successfully laid out 8 of the ten cables. Both astronauts had laid out some 340ft of 360ft of cable to reconfigure the ISS for the new arrivals. Both the astronauts are relatively new to the trade; it was Virts first space walk while it was the second spacewalk of Wilmore.
The duo were able to finish attaching several cables to the port side of the Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 beneath two debris shields, before moving to attach another to the starboard side
Engineers at mission control carefully monitored the progress made by the two astronauts. The mission control had some anxious moments when they detected increasing levels of Carbon dioxide in Wilmore’s suit towards the end of the space walk. NASA said that it was due to the overexertion while trying to open free a stubborn connector.