NASA astronaut Nicole Mann begins her spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Thursday in which she and fellow astronaut, Koichi Wakata, from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency will carry out work on the station's power system. Photo courtesy of NASA.
Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Astronauts from NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency stepped out from the International Station to begin a spacewalk early Thursday to complete work started by another work team almost two weeks ago -- part of a project to upgrade the station's power generation systems.
NASA's Nicole Mann and JAXA's Koichi Wakata were tasked with finishing work on a mounting platform on one of the station's power channels, moving and reinstalling an articulating portable foot restraint for use in future spacewalk tasks.
They also were to complete cable routing on the space station's other power channel, time permitting, NASA said in a blogpost.
NASA said it expected Thursday's spacewalk -- the second for both astronauts -- to last about 6 1/2 hours.
Mann serves as extravehicular crew member 1 and ccould be identified by the red stripes on her suit. Wakata serve as extravehicular crew member 2 and will wears an unmarked suit.
Mann and Wakata's previous spacewalk Jan. 17 lasted 7 hours, 21 minutes during which time they installed a modification kit at the far end of the space station, allowing for the future installation of the roll-out solar array.
The installation work is part of a series of spacewalks to augment the station's power channels with new International Space Station solar arrays.
Four of the arrays have been installed so far, and two additional ones to be mounted to the installed platforms during future spacewalks after their arrival later this year on SpaceX's 28th commercial resupply services mission for NASA.
Mann and Wakata started to prepare their spacesuits and its components inside Quest, the station's primary airlock Wednesday.
Afterward, NASA flight engineer Frank Rubio joined the duo and began to organize spacewalking tools and hardware before a final procedures review and a conference with specialists on the ground.
Roscosmos flight engineer Anna Kikina handed the spacewalking astronauts dosimeters, or radiation detectors, to attach to their spacesuits.
While the lengthy preparations for the spacewalk were underway, the rest of the Expedition 68 crew kept up its ongoing schedule of human research, botany and physics.