Two NASA astronauts recently took a walk in outer space. Their primary mission was to fix several features outside the International Space Station.
Repairing the ISS
On Wednesday, May 16, astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold ventured outside of the ISS. A NASA spokesperson stated exclusively to Tech Times that the primary objectives of Feustel and Arnold's walk are to finish upgrading the cooling system hardware. They would also install an updated communications equipment used for future dockings of commercial crew spacecraft.
The Mission Details
The NASA spokesperson revealed that the men would transfer an object called the Pump Flow Control Subassembly (PFCS) from the ISS spare parts area to the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (Dextre) robotic arm. It would be up to Dextre and Earth-based remote-controlled robots to conclude the connecting process. Once the task is complete, the men would put the broken PFCS into the spare parts area. The PFCS controls the amount of ammonia that enters through the ISS's cooling system. Other elements include replacing the Destiny Laboratory's camera system and a communications receiver.
This spacewalk is Feustel's eighth overall and Arnold's fourth. It is also the second mission that the duo completed together. Feustel and Arnold's second spacewalk also marks the 210th time that astronauts performed a spacewalk to adjust the space station.
"Spacewalks allow us to make upgrades and repairs to the station and are integral to keeping spacecraft up and running," said the NASA Spokesperson.
Preparing For An Arrival
Feustel, Andrew, and the rest of their Expedition 55 team will be preparing for the upcoming arrival of the Cygnus cargo spacecraft. When it launches from Wallops Island, Virginia on Sunday, May 20, the space vehicle will be carrying supplies and essential experiments to the ISS. Due to the spacecraft's arrival, NASA decided to delay the second spacewalk and postponed it until June.
In addition to fixing elements of the space station, Feustel recently received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Purdue University. Feustel was unable to attend his alma mater's spring commencement ceremony in person but spoke to the graduates via satellite. He previously received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the university.
On May 5, the space agency launched the InSight Lander from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. NASA officials stated that if InSight has a successful journey into space, the vehicle could touch down near the Martian equator on Nov. 26.
InSight's mission focuses on investigating the Red Planet's interior to find out if Mars could support life on it. It would not only measure quakes but also dig 16 feet into the planet's surface and take its temperature. The mission is tentatively set to conclude on Nov. 24, 2020.
NASA also announced that it is developing a galactic positioning system. The space agency is using the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) telescope as the basis of the galactic positioning system. It hopes that the galactic positioning system would be able to help astronauts send spaceships and probes directly to planets instead of doing fly-bys.