The spacewalk by France’s Thomas Pesquet, 39, and American Shane Kimbrough, 49, will be the latest in a series of outings to install new docking ports for the next generation of commercial spacecraft.
The new crew spaceships, currently under design by SpaceX and Boeing, should begin flying astronauts to the station in the coming years, as early as 2018.
Currently, the only way the world’s astronauts can reach orbit is by buying a ride aboard Russia’s Soyuz capsules, at $81 million per seat.
The goals for Friday’s spacewalk include preparing for the installation of the second of two parking spots for space taxis, known as the International Docking Adapter.
The pair of spacewalkers “will disconnect cables and electrical connections on the pressurized mating adapter (PMA-3) to prepare for its robotic move Thursday, March 30” during another spacewalk, NASA said in a statement.
The mating adapter equipment “will be moved from the port side of the Tranquility module to the space-facing side of the Harmony module.”
In its new location, it will become the home for the International Docking Adapter, to be delivered on a future flight of a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship.
Pesquet and Kimbrough also plan to install new computer equipment outside the space station, and will lubricate and inspect the space station’s robotic arm, used to grab approaching spacecraft and move items outside the global laboratory.
Other tasks include inspecting a radiator valve suspected of a small ammonia leak and replacing cameras on the Japanese segment of the outpost, the US space agency said.
NASA television coverage of the spacewalk is set to begin at 6:30 am (1030 GMT).
The spacewalk will be Pesquet’s second and Kimbrough’s fifth.
The next outing on March 30 will include Kimbrough and American astronaut Peggy Whitson, making the eighth such outing of her career.
A third spacewalk on April 6 is to include Pesquet and Whitson, who will surpass the record for spacewalks by any female astronauts.
Later in April, the 57-year-old Whitson will also break the record for most number of days spent in space by an American astronaut.
The current US record of 534 days is held by astronaut Jeff Williams.
Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka holds the record for the most cumulative days ever in space, at 879 days over five career trips. DM
Want to watch Richard Poplak’s audition for SA’s Got Talent?
Who doesn’t? Alas, it was removed by the host site for prolific swearing*... Now that we’ve got your attention, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk to you about the small matter of book burning and freedom of speech.
Since its release, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, has sparked numerous fascist-like behavior from certain members of the public (and the State). There have been planned book burnings, disrupted launches and Ace Magashule has openly called him a liar. And just to say thanks, a R10m defamation suit has been lodged against the author.
Pieter-Louis Myburgh is our latest Scorpio Investigative journalist recruit and we’re not going to let him and his crucial book be silenced. When the Cape Town launch was postponed, Maverick Insider stepped in and relocated it to a secure location so that Pieter-Louis’ revelations could be heard by the public. If we’ve learnt one thing over the past ten years it is this: when anyone tries to infringe on our constitutional rights, we have to fight back. Every day, our journalists are uncovering more details and evidence of State Capture and its various reincarnations. The rot is deep and the threats, like this recent one to freedom of speech, are real. You can support the cause by becoming an Insider and help free the speech that can make a difference.
*No video of Richard Poplak auditioning for SA’s Got Talent actually exists. Unless it does and we don’t know about it please send it through.
The sound of Krakatoa exploding travelled around the earth three times.