A set of three spacewalks by astronauts on the International Space Station will focus on preparing the orbiting laboratory for the arrival in coming years of spacecraft under development by partners of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Astronauts Barry Whitmore and Terry Virts will perform the extravehicular activities, or EVAs, on Saturday, Wednesday and Sunday, March 1. The spacewalkers will prepare two of the ports on the station to receive two docking adapters that are compatible with the hatches of Boeing’s CST-100 and the SpaceX Crew Dragon. Those two spacecraft are scheduled to be built and flight-tested then certified in 2017 leading up to operational missions to take astronauts to the station. Boeing built the adapters, and a cargo-only version of the SpaceX Dragon will be used to take them to the station later this year.
In addition to regaining America’s ability to launch astronauts to the station from U.S. soil, the new spacecraft will expand the crew of the station to seven people, which will double the amount of time astronauts can devote to research work on the station.
Spacewalks are complicated endeavors calling for detailed choreography and careful planning. You can learn more about the spacewalks and everything involved with achieving the objectives in this briefing from earlier this week.