Spacewalkers Successfully Connect Adapter for Commercial Crew Vehicles

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Spacewalk support personnel

Spacewalk support personnel quickly teamed up for a solution to cover the Tranquility module’s port after a thermal and micrometeoroid shield was inadvertently lost during today’s spacewalk. The team supporting EVA Officer John Mularski explored options in a room nearby Mission Control, and chose to install a cover that had been removed earlier from the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3.

Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA concluded their spacewalk at 2:33 p.m. EDT. During the spacewalk, which lasted just over seven hours, the two astronauts successfully reconnected cables and electrical connections on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3. PMA-3 will provide the pressurized interface between the station and the second of two international docking adapters to be delivered to the complex to support the dockings of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft in the future.

The duo were also tasked with installing four thermal protection shields on the Tranquility module of the International Space Station. The shields were required to cover the port where the PMA-3 was removed earlier in the week and robotically installed on the Harmony module. During the spacewalk, one of the shields was inadvertently lost. The loss posed no immediate danger to the astronauts and Kimbrough and Whitson went on to successfully install the remaining shields on the common berthing mechanism port.

A team from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston devised a plan for the astronauts to finish covering the port with the PMA-3 cover Whitson removed earlier in the day. The plan worked, and the cover was successfully installed, providing thermal protection and micrometeoroid and orbital debris cover for the port.

To round out the spacewalk, Kimbrough and Whitson also installed a different shield around the base of the PMA-3 adapter for micrometeoroid protection. The shield was nicknamed a cummerbund as it fits around the adapter similar to a tuxedo’s cummerbund worn around the waist.

Having completed her eighth spacewalk, Whitson now holds the record for the most spacewalks and accumulated time spacewalking by a female astronaut.

Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,243 hours and 42 minutes outside the station during 199 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

4 thoughts on “Spacewalkers Successfully Connect Adapter for Commercial Crew Vehicles

  1. Rolf Dunker

    3rd spacewalk scheduled for today (6th of April) mysteriously vanished from the schedule.
    Any news, info, update ?

    Reply
    1. Mark Garcia Post author

      The third spacewalk is dependent on the launch of the Orbital ATK Cygnus which will deliver a new avionics box. That launch is targeted for April 18. The spacewalkers will install the avionics box which contains electrical and command and data routing equipment for the science experiments and replacement hardware stored outside of the station.

      Reply

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