Spacewalkers complete excursion outside International Space Station

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet put on their self-contained spacesuits and headed outside the International Space Station on Friday for a six-and-a-half hour excursion to prepare for the relocation of a docking adapter, service the lab’s Dextre robot, and install a new computer relay box.

The spacewalkers switched their suits to internal battery power at 7:24 a.m. EDT (1124 GMT), marking the official start of the EVA. They exited the station’s Quest airlock a few minutes later.

The spacewalk officially concluded at 1:58 p.m. EDT (1758 GMT).

It was the fifth spacewalk of Kimbrough’s career, and the second for Pesquet, a French-born flight engineer from the European Space Agency.

Their tasks included disconnecting cables and electrical connections between Pressurized Mating Adapter No. 3 and the station’s Tranquility module. On Sunday, ground controllers will use the station’s robotic arm to relocate PMA-3 to the space-facing port on the Harmony module, in advance of the delivery of a new docking adapter to the complex next year for commercial crew spaceships owned by Boeing and SpaceX.

The astronauts also lubricated a latching end effector on the Dextre robot, a two-armed handyman provided by the Canadian Space Agency, inspected a radiator valve to look for signs of a small ammonia leak, and replaced cameras outside the Japanese lab module.

The spacewalk was the first of three EVAs planned over the next couple of weeks by Kimbrough, Pesquet and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. The following two spacewalks are tentatively scheduled for March 30 and April 6.

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