As two NASA astronauts from the International Space Station’s Expedition 42 crew prepare to venture outside the orbital complex on Friday, Feb. 20, NASA Television provided a preview news briefing on Wednesday, Feb. 18. The preview briefing was held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston with the following panelists:
Kenneth Todd, International Space Station Operations and Integration manager
Tomas Gonzalez-Torres, Expedition 42 lead flight director
Karina Eversley, Extravehicular Activity (EVA) # 29 officer
Sarah Korona, EVA # 30 officer
Arthur Thomason, EVA # 31 officer
Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts will exit the station from the Quest airlock for each of the three spacewalks around 7:10 a.m. NASA TV coverage of the approximately six-and-a-half hour spacewalks will begin at 6 a.m.
Built by Boeing under contract to NASA, the International Docking Adapters are a critical component of the station’s reconfiguration to ensure long-term docking ports for future commercial crew and other visiting spacecraft. They will permit the standard station crew size to grow from six to seven, potentially doubling the amount of time devoted to research aboard the orbiting laboratory.
The two new docking adapters will be launched to the station on a pair of SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft this year. Astronauts will install the first of two adapters on Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 on the forward end of the station’s Harmony module during a future spacewalk. The second adapter will be installed on Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 after it is relocated robotically to the space-facing port of Harmony later this year.
The spacewalks will be the 185th, 186th and 187th in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Wilmore has conducted one spacewalk in his career last October. The spacewalks will be the first of Virts’ career.