WASHINGTON, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Two astronauts ventured outside the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday to prepare the orbiting laboratory for future arrivals by U.S. commercial crew spacecraft.
Shane Kimbrough of the U.S. space agency NASA and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency spent more than six and a half hours on the first of three spacewalks scheduled to take place over the next two weeks.
Friday's major tasks included preparing a structure called Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 for future installation of the second International Docking Adapter, which will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings.
Kimbrough and Pesquet "successfully disconnected cables and electrical connections on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 to prepare for its robotic move Sunday, March 26," NASA said in a statement.
The structure, to be moved from the port side of the Tranquility module to the space-facing side of the Harmony module, will become home for the second docking adapter, which will be delivered on a future flight of a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft.
During Friday's spacewalk, the astronauts also lubricated part of the ISS's Canadarm2 robotic arm, inspected a radiator valve suspected of a small ammonia leak, and replaced cameras on the Japanese segment of the outpost.
A second spacewalk is scheduled for March 30, while the final spacewalk is slated for April 6.