Two NASA astronauts stepped exterior the International Space Station Wednesday (Aug. 21) to put in a new docking port for incoming business crew spacecraft in the course of the fifth spacewalk from the station this year.
Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan started their 6 hours and 32-minute spacewalk at 8:27 a.m. EDT (12:27 GMT), exiting from the U.S.-built Quest airlock after switching their spacesuits over to battery power.
The pair installed the International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) to the space-facing side of the station’s Harmony connecting module. IDA-3 will function a second docking port at the space station for incoming commercial spacecraft constructed by Boeing and SpaceX. NASA has tapped Boeing’s Starliner capsule and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the space station in the future.
The spacewalk marked Morgan’s first time venturing outside the space station, whereas Hague has already performed two spacewalks earlier this year to help in changing a number of the station’s solar array batteries. Throughout Wednesday’s excursion, Hague was the primary one out, followed by Morgan a few minutes later because the station soared over the Atlantic Ocean.
Hague and Morgan anticipated having some problem in wrangling the docking adapters cables, which have been baking within the solar on the station’s exterior since their supply five years in the past. However, these fears, it appeared, have been unfounded. The astronauts put in the cables with ease, even ending forward of schedule.
After installing the docking port, Hague and Morgan went on to install two critical reflectors on the IDA-3, which can function docking support for visiting spacecraft, providing visible cues for these incoming automobiles.
Hague and Morgan additionally received an additional hand from Canada’s Dextre, a two-armed robotic that was launched in 2008.
Along with Hague and Morgan, the station’s six-individual Expedition 60 crew consists of NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Russian cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano. Ovchinin commands the Expedition 60 mission.
The crew can be tending to scientific research on board, such as rodent experiments and stem cell differentiation. NASA’s plan to use commercial spacecraft such as SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner will bolster scientific analysis and technology development to advance the agency’s future missions to the moon and Mars, NASA officers stated in an in a statement.
Wednesday’s spacewalk brings Hague’s total time outside the space station to 19 hours and 59 minutes across three spacewalks. Morgan ended the day with 6 hours and 32 minutes of spacewalking time because it was his career first.
Morgan enjoyed his first walk in space.