<img src = "data: image / gif; base64, R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP /// yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" class = "vague hidden" data-lazy-type = "iframe" data-lazy-src = "" alt = "" />
Two astronauts floated outside the International Space Station on Thursday to install two new cameras on the front of the laboratory complex that will provide views of commercial crew ships during the final approach and docking. The astronauts also planned to replace a defective HD camera and close a door that was open on an external instrument.
Floating in the Quest airlock, Expedition 56 commander Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold changed their space suits to battery at 8:06 am EDT (GMT-4), officially starting a six-and-a-half-hour excursion .
This is the 211st spacewalk dedicated to the assembly and maintenance of the station since construction began in 1998, the sixth so far this year, the ninth for Feustel and the fifth for Arnold. Both men held two earlier spacewalks together in March and May.
For identification, Arnold, the call sign EV-1, wears a suit with red stripes and is using the helmet camera No. 18. Feustel, EV-2, is wearing an unlabeled suit and wearing helmetcam 17.
The main objective of the US EVA-51 is the installation of two new cameras on the front of the Tranquility module that will provide views of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX with its Dragon spacecraft during the final approach to a new Mooring mechanism mounted in the port where the space shuttles were joined.
The new crew ferries aim to put an end to NASA's sole dependence on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to take American, European, Japanese and Canadian astronauts to the outpost, restoring the American space transport capability that was lost when the Ferry program ended in 2011.
The development of the new crew ships is delayed and it is not yet clear when the first test flights without a pilot will be possible. The camera requires Arnold and Feustel to route the power and Ethernet cables from the Destiny lab module panels to the front of the station, where two cameras meet. Horn assemblies will be installed.
"We are taking a power cable and an Ethernet cable, we connect them to the outer space station and we route them to the front end of the space station," said Keith Johnson, a spacewalk planner at the Johnson Space Center In Houston.
"These cameras will be used to see the front end of the space station for the commercial coupling of the crew, but they are also part of an external wireless communication (network)."
After competing in the camera installation work, Arnold planned to get on the robot arm of the station to work and replace a high-definition camera assembly on the right side of the complex that is not working properly. Feustel, meanwhile, planned to venture to the far left of the station to work on a payload mounted outside the Japanese Kibo lab module.
The Cloud-Aerosol Transport System, or CATS, instrument was designed to study the atmosphere using a laser shot through a large aperture door. The instrument failed earlier, leaving the door open, and Feustel planned to close it and secure it so that the instrument remains on board a SpaceX cargo ship later for disposal.
The flight plan included several "Priority Prior" items of low priority that could be carried out if Arnold and Feustel were able to complete their main tasks ahead of schedule.