Astronauts Conduct Spacewalk for International Space Station
By Glynn Cosker
Contributor, In Space News
Two astronauts performed NASA’s third spacewalk in as many weeks outside of the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.
NASA flight engineer Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques left the confines of the Quest airlock to replace a faulty solar array battery and install backup power lines for the station’s robot arm – along with expanding its wireless communications. NASA broadcasted the spacewalk live, starting at 8.05 a.m. EDT, and the excursion is scheduled to last around six hours.
“McClain and Saint-Jacques will lay out jumper cables between the Unity module and the S0 truss, at the midpoint of the station’s backbone,” according to NASA’s website. “This work will establish a redundant path of power to the Canadian-built robotic arm, known as Canadarm2. They also will install cables to provide for more expansive wireless communications coverage outside the orbital complex, as well as for enhanced hardwired computer network capability.”
Video courtesy of NASA. Released for public use.
The spacewalk was in doubt following India’s recent anti-satellite test that resulted in a cloud of debris in low-Earth orbit – at first deemed a “terrible thing” by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. However, officials subsequently gave the walk a green light.
This was McClain’s second spacewalk and the first for Saint-Jacques at their 250-mile high outpost. Next month, the two Russians on board – Oleg Konenenko and Oleg Shkripochka – will head out for their spacewalk. Americans Nick Hague and Christina Koch complete the ISS six-person crew.
In March 1965, Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov conducted the first tethered spacewalk in history. NASA’s first spacewalk occurred three months after that, when astronaut Ed White performed a tethered extravehicular activity during the Gemini IV mission.