Nasa astronauts go spacewalking to make repairs on International Space Station
Three hours into the planned 6½-hour walk, flight controllers decided to limit the men’s time outside to six hours because of an issue with one of their spacesuits
Two new arrivals at the International Space Station went spacewalking on Thursday less than a week after moving in.
Nasa astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold quickly installed new wireless antennas and removed leaky jumper hosepipes from a radiator.
But three hours into a planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk, Nasa decided to limit the men’s time outside to six hours because of an issue with Feustel’s spacesuit.
The material for removing his carbon dioxide was being depleted quickly, and flight controllers did not want him out too long.
The spacewalkers got started on a camera-replacement job, but will not have time to finish it. Nasa said the remaining work would be left for future spacewalkers.
Officials stressed Feutel’s latest suit issue was unrelated to the trouble he had earlier in the day. His suit failed three leak checks after he put it on, but passed on the fourth try. That put the astronauts more than an hour late in getting outside.
“You guys are working harder up there today than in the gym,” Mission Control said even before the spacewalk had begun.
Feustel and Arnold rocketed away from Kazakhstan last Wednesday and arrived at the 250-mile-high outpost two days later. They will remain on board until August.
Shuttle astronauts often went spacewalking a few days after reaching orbit, given their short flights, but it’s less common for station residents who spend five to six months aloft.
A space station manager, Nasa’s Kenny Todd, said earlier this week that both Feustel and Arnold were experienced spacewalkers from the old space shuttle days and were used to a quick transition in orbit.
But Todd cautioned there’s nothing routine about spacewalking and is probably the most dangerous undertaking by orbiting astronauts.
This was Feustel’s seventh spacewalk and Arnold’s third.
“Welcome to the vacuum of space … welcome back,” said Mission Control.
The intense pace continues next week.
SpaceX plans to launch a load of supplies to the station crew on Monday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.