Successful Spacewalk allows Station Astronauts to install Cameras

Expedition 56 commander Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, switching their spacesuits on battery power by 8.06 a.m. EDT (GMT-4), kicked off to float in Quest airlock excursion, what turned out to be for 6 hours and 49 minutes outside the ISS (International Space Station) on Thursday and installed two new cameras. 

The two cameras were installed at the front side of the laboratory complex, meant for providing views of the commercial crew ships during their docking and final approach. An HD camera that was faulty and a jammed door of an external instrument were also replaced by the two. 

A fifth for Arnold and ninth for Feustel who ranked third in the world with total 61 hours and 48 minutes with nine EVAs. Anatoly Solovyev, holds a record with 78 hours and 21 minutes spacewalk in his 16 excursions. 

The primary goal of the U.S. EVA-51 was to install the two new HD cameras at the front on the Harmony module which is meant for providing views of Dragon spacecraft of SpaceX and CST-100 Starliner of Boeing whilst their final approach into the new docking mechanism that has been mounted on the port where once the shuttles were attached. 

Restoring America’s capabilities of space transportation, which was lost with the end of the shuttle program in 2011, these new crew ferry ships have been intended in ending NASA’s sole dependency on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft in carrying astronauts to the outpost from U.S. Europe, Japanese and Canada. 

With NASA’s hope to begin crew ferry missions possibly by early next year, development on the new crew ships are well behind schedule, and nothing is definite when will it be the time for the first unpiloted test flight. 

Arnold and Feustel, to accomplish the camera job, needed to connect Ethernet and power cables to a distribution panel at the Disney lab module. Without any significant hassles, the crew was able to accomplish the job of connecting wires below a micrometeoroid panel, getting them secured and re-stow the committee, although it was quite time-consuming.

Once completed, the duo returned to the airlock, got hold of the new cameras along with their mounts and moved towards the front of the station. It was then installed and connected to the ready routed cables. Later, live views of the cameras send to Earth some 250 miles away confirmed the cameras have been functioning normally. 

After the cameras were installed, both Feustel and Arnold split up, with Feustel, venturing to the far left of the station to work on a payload. It was mounted outside Japanese Kibo lab module and Arnold on the other hand, climbed the station’s robot arm and replaced an HD camera with its light assembly on the right of the station that was not functioning correctly.