BBSNews 2015-02-19 — NASA. Three spacewalks on the International Space Station by two American astronauts now are planned for Saturday, Feb. 21; Wednesday, Feb. 25; and Sunday, March 1. The spacewalks will help prepare the space station for two new docking ports that will welcome U.S. commercial spacecraft launching from Florida beginning in 2017.
NASA Television coverage for all three excursions will begin at 6 a.m. EST. The spacewalks are planned to begin each day around 7:10 a.m.
Space station managers decided Thursday to move the first two spacewalks by NASA’s Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts by one day because of added analysis of spacesuits they will wear.
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 crew 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.
For the first two spacewalks, Wilmore will be designated as extravehicular (EV) crew member 1 and wear a spacesuit bearing red stripes. Virts will be EV 2 and will wear a suit with no stripes. For the third spacewalk, they will reverse roles, with Virts as EV 1 wearing red stripes, and Wilmore as EV 2 wearing a suit without stripes.