At 6:51 am EST, NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts began their second spacewalk in five days. Today’s spacewalk is expected to last 6 hours and 30 minutes. During this time, Wilmore and Virts will finish routing a series of cables as the ISS prepares for the arrival of two International Docking Adapters later this year.
On the first spacewalk, Wilmore and Virts installed nearly 340 feet of power and data cables to support these adapters. Today, they will be attaching two more cables.
The pair of adapters will be installed and will eventually be used by commercial space taxis to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA hopes by the end of 2017, they will no longer rely on Russia to get astronauts to the International Space Station. Right now, the U.S. pays Russia $70 million per seat to get astronauts to the ISS. NASA expects that number to drop to around $58 million on U.S. space taxis.
Wilmore will also be preparing the Tranquility module for the relocation of the Permanent Multipurpose Module and the arrival of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) later this year. Virts will lubricate the grapple fixture at the end of ISS’ robotic arm.
While Wilmore and Virts were completing their tasks, they also took some incredible pictures.