Two NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold took a 6.5-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Wednesday, May 16, to fix several features outside the orbiting space station.
The two Expedition 55 flight engineers wearing their extravehicular mobility units (EMUs) or spacesuits spent the day working in the vacuum of space outside of the ISS to install some new hardware. The astronauts exited the station through the Quest airlock at around 8:39 a.m. EDT (1239 GMT). The spacewalk lasted for the duration of 6 hours and 31 minutes. It officially ended when Feustel and Arnold switched their spacesuits off battery power at 2:10 p.m. EDT (1810 GMT).
Their main motive was to upgrade the station’s cooling system, as well as install new communications equipment that will be used for future docking of commercial care spacecraft. They moved the Pump Flow Control Subassembly (PFCS) from a spare parts platform on the station’s truss to the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (Dextre) robotic arm. The unit is designed to keep the batteries in the space station’s external systems cool.
The NASA astronauts also installed a new high-definition camera system on the space station’s exterior part which will be used for future dockings of commercial crew spacecraft at the ISS.
It marks the 210th spacewalk performed by astronauts to maintain and upgrade the International Space Station. It was Feustel’s eighth spacewalk. Until now he has now accrued 54 hours and 59 minutes of spacewalking time. It was Arnold’s fourth spacewalk that brings his total spacewalking time to 25 hours and 15 minutes. Notably, it is the second mission that the two NASA astronauts have completed together.
The Expedition 55 team is currently preparing for Cygnus cargo spacecraft which will launch on Sunday, May 20 from Wallops Island, Virginia. The space vehicle will carry essential experiments and supplies to the ISS.