The ISS is preparing to host the soon to be introduced commercial manned spacecrafts by SpaceX and Boeing. Two astronauts completed the installation of cables necessary for docking the spacecrafts on Saturday. The astronauts completed a spacewalk outside the ISS in the preparation of the orbiting outpost to welcome the spacecraft. It took them six hours and 41 minutes to complete the task.
NASA’s astronauts Terry Virts and Barry “Butch” Wilmore completed a set of tasks needed for the first of three EVAs. Although the spacewalk was earlier scheduled for February 20, mission managers delayed it until February 21. They wished to ensure the proper functioning of the spacesuit components. The pair also initiated their second round of tasks for the next list that is due on February 25.
Wilmore, Expedition 42 Commander, and Virts, Flight Engineer, were assigned the task to lay cables along the front of the U.S. Segment. The NASA believes the task to b the most complicated cable-routing tasks in the ISS’s history. The pair left the Quest airlock to be the first of three to put up as much as 750 feet of cables and other communication tools. The preparation is intended to provide the necessary power and communication to the two International Docking Adaptors that are scheduled to be sent to the ISS in June. The set up will allow the commercial crew taxis to dock with the ISS. The first venture will be initiated in 2017, from Florida.
Wilmore and Virts are expected to do their next spacewalks on February 25 and March 1. With the completion of the all the scheduled spacewalks, the ISS will be equipped with 764 feet of new cabling. It will have installed new communication systems that could support the new commercial vehicles. These vehicles are SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and Boeing’s CST-100, that NASA had commissioned them to build.