NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel of Expedition 55, who arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) last week, conducted a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk outside the orbiting lab on Thursday, March 29, 2018.
The two astronauts along with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev were launched into orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday.
The astronauts began their spacewalk at 8:10 a.m. ET. NASA broadcast live coverage of the spacewalk at 6:30 a.m. ET. The two checked for the assembly, maintenance, and upgrades of the International Space Station.
According to NASA, the astronauts mounted brand-new wireless communications equipment on the spaceport station’s Tranquility component to enhance payload data processing for the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) experiment which will be flown to the station on a future SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. The experiment will measure the temperature of plants on Earth to better understand how much water they need and how they respond to stress.
Arnold and Feustel also swapped out a defunct camera on the exterior of the space station for a new one and remove aging hoses from a cooling component. Thursday’s excursion was the seventh in Feustel’s career and the third for Arnold. It was the fourth spacewalk of the year for the orbital lab maintenance. The spacewalk marked the 209th spacewalk at the International Space Station since its launch in 1998. The space station has completed around 100,000 orbits of Earth until now.
The ISS is currently occupied by six astronauts including Anton Shkaplerov, commander of the current Expedition 55, Scott Tingle, Norishige Kanai, Ricky Arnold, Drew Feustel and Oleg Artemyev.
Shkaplerov, Tingle, and Kanai will remain aboard the station until June 2018, while Feustel, Arnold, and Artemyev will return to Earth in August to close out their 159 days voyage.