Spacewalking Astronauts Prep Space Station for SpaceX, Boeing Spaceships

Spacewalking Astronauts Prep Space Station for SpaceX, Boeing Spaceships
Two NASA astronauts took a spacewalk today (June 14) to continue preparations for the arrival of the first commercial crew vehicles that will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) later this year.Expedition 56 Cmdr.Drew Feustel and flight engineer Ricky Arnold departed the ISS through the Quest airlock after switching their spacesuits over to battery power at 8:06 a.m.EDT (1206 GMT).They spent 6 hours and 49 minutes working in the vacuum of space.Some technical difficulties put them off to a rough start, but the two spacewalkers aced all of their assigned tasks for the day and even had some time left over for a few get-ahead tasks.They spent some time wrestling with a jammed panel to a micrometeoroid shield, which was stuck open and needed to be closed.[Expedition 56: The Space Station Mission in Photos] Flight controllers were considering giving up on the pesky door so the spacewalkers could move on to other important tasks, but Feustel was unwilling to give up on the stubborn panel.With a little elbow grease and a lot of determination, he put that panel in its place.”I think I got it!” Feustel exclaimed while catching his breath after the strenuous feat.Feustel’s most notable achievement of the day came a few hours later, when he surpassed NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson’s accumulated spacewalking time, bumping him up from seventh place to third place on the list of most experienced spacewalkers.”Feustel has now moved into third for all-time spent spacewalking,” NASA TV commentator Dan Huot said during a live broadcast of the spacewalk.He also surpassed Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA astronauts Jerry Ross and John Grunsfeld.Feustel has now spent a total of 61 hours and 48 minutes working in the vacuum of space, or 1 hour and 21 minutes more than Whitson.It was the ninth spacewalk of Feustel’s career as a NASA astronaut.Arnold, who completed his fifth spacewalk today, has accumulated a total of 32 hours and 4 minutes of spacewalking time.Arnold and Feustel have now completed three consecutive spacewalks together this year.For the last two spacewalks, Feustel was designated as EV-1 (extravehicular crewmember 1), and Arnold was EV-2.Today, however, the roles were reversed.”Welcome to being the first out of the hatch,” Feustel told Arnold as they left the Quest airlock this morning.To make it easier to tell the two spacewalkers apart, the spacesuit for EV-1 has red stripes, while the spacesuit for EV-2 is plain white.The main objectives for today’s spacewalk were to install new brackets and high-definition cameras outside the Harmony module, where SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner will start arriving in August.Following the first uncrewed test flights, these two spacecraft will begin transporting astronauts in 2020.NASA contracted both companies to design and build these spacecraft to end the agency’s reliance on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft, which have transported all U.S.astronauts to the ISS since the shuttle

Spacewalking Astronauts Prep Space Station for SpaceX, Boeing Spaceships