Spacewalking astronauts worked to set up TV cameras Thursday for new crew capsules set to arrive in coming months.
Once outside the International Space Station, commander Drew Feustel struggled to remove a protective cover in order to disconnect an old cable and hook up a new one for the new cameras. He used a small crowbar and noted if “I had more hands” the job would be easier.
His spacewalking partner, Ricky Arnold, floated over to help. Between the two of them, the astronauts managed to complete the initial cable work.
“Fantastic job,” Mission Control radioed. But the astronauts soon encountered more snags, slowing them down.
Their main task is to install two high-definition TV cameras, meant to provide sharp views of commercial crew capsules coming in to dock.
Until SpaceX and Boeing start flying astronauts, NASA must rely solely on Russian capsules for getting to and from the 250-mile-high outpost. The Russians rides are costing NASA up to $82 million per person.
NASA hasn’t launched astronauts into space from U.S. soil since the last shuttle flight in 2011. SpaceX and Boeing are aiming for test flights from Cape Canaveral, Florida, by year’s end.
The tentative schedule shows flights without a crew by both companies in late summer followed by launches with astronauts by December. But those dates are considered optimistic by many.