Astronauts complete 6.5-hour spacewalk

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Tasks focused on readying space station to accept commercial manned spacecraft
World Bulletin / News Desk
Two astronauts on Friday completed a 6.5-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS) in the first of three such outings scheduled for the next few weeks.
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency exited the ISS at 7:24 a.m. EST (2324GMT). The main task for Kimbrough and Pesquet, a Frenchman, involved readying a new dock so that it can soon accept manned missions from commercial space exploration companies.
The pair also adjusted a computer, replaced lighting equipment and completed several other tasks. Kimbrough and Pesquet finished their work and safely reentered the ISS at 1:58 p.m (1758GMT).
The docking mechanism for private spacecraft is known as Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3). The astronauts disconnected cables from the PMA-3 so that Sunday a robotic arm can transport it to its final location on the Harmony module — the “utility hub” of the ISS, according to NASA. The PMA-3 is crucial for allowing private spacecraft from around the world to link to the ISS.
“The PMA-3 provides the pressurized interface between the station modules and the International Docking Adapter, which will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings,” NASA noted after the successful spacewalk. “The astronauts also lubricated the latching end effector on the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator ‘extension’ for the Canadarm2 robotic arm, inspected a radiator valve and replaced cameras on the Japanese segment of the outpost.”
Kimbrough, the Commander for ISS Expedition 50, will again exit the station March 30 to connect the PMA-3 after it is repositioned by the robotic arm. He will be joined by NASA flight engineer Peggy Whitson on that mission.
Whitson and Pesquet will take part in a third walk April 6.
After Friday’s tasks were finished, NASA said astronauts have spent 1,237 hours in 198 spacewalks outside the ISS.

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