Skip to main content

Space Station Astronauts Are Taking a Spacewalk Today: Watch It Live

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson (center) poses with crewmates Shane Kimbrough of NASA (right) and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency ahead of a Jan. 13, 2017 spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Kimbrough and Pesquet are taking another
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson (center) poses with crewmates Shane Kimbrough of NASA (right) and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency ahead of a Jan. 13, 2017 spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Kimbrough and Pesquet are taking another spacewalk on March 24. (Image credit: NASA)

Two astronauts are taking a spacewalk outside the International Space Station today (March 24) to prepare the outpost for a new docking ring and other upgrades.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet are expected to spend 6.5 hours working outside the station during the spacewalk, which begins at about 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT). You can watch the spacewalk live here, courtesy of NASA TV.

Today's spacewalk is the first of three scheduled for the space station's crew over the next few weeks. During their work today, Kimbrough and Pesquet will prepare a NASA module known as Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) for the future installation of an International Docking Adapter that will allow commercial spacecraft to link up with the space station. The station already has one IDA, with today's spacewalk priming the outpost for a second docking adapter's installation. [Space Station's Expedition 50 Mission in Pictures]

Kimbrough, who commands the station's Expedition 50 crew, and Pesquet "will disconnect cables and electrical connections on PMA-3 to prepare for its robotic move Thursday, March 30," NASA officials said in a statement. That move coincides with the second spacewalk in the current series.

See more

"PMA-3 will be moved from the port side of the Tranquility module to the space-facing side of the Harmony module, where it will become home for the docking adapter, which will be delivered on a future flight of a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship," NASA officials added.

Kimbrough and Pesquet are also expected to lubricate part of the space station's robotic arm, inspect a radiator valve suspected of a small ammonia coolant leak, as well as replace cameras mounted to the exterior of the station's Japanese segment, which consists of the huge Kibo laboratory module, a storage room and exterior porch-like platform covered with experiments.

The next spacewalk in the three-excursion series is scheduled for March 30 and will be performed by Kimbrough and fellow NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. The final spacewalk is scheduled for April 6 and will be performed by Whitson and Pesquet.

Kimbrough, Pesquet and Whitson are three of six space travelers currently living on the International Space Station as part of the Expedition 50 mission. The other three crewmembers — Andrey Borisenko, Sergey Ryzhikov and Oleg Novitskiy — are cosmonauts with Russia's Roscosmos space agency.

Visit Space.com for complete coverage of all three spacewalks at the space station.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

Tariq Malik

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the Space.com team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.