CANAVERAL (US) :
ASTRONAUTS squeezed in one last spacewalk on Tuesday before turning their attention to the all-important end to SpaceX’s first crew flight. NASA’s Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy floated out of the International Space Station on their fourth and final spacewalk in under a month. Instead of swapping batteries, they had to route cables, hook up a tool storage chest and perform other maintenance.
It was the 10th spacewalk in each of their careers, tying the US record set by previous space station residents. In less than two weeks, Behnken and Doug Hurley, who monitored the spacewalk from inside, will depart the orbiting complex in the same SpaceX Dragon crew capsule in which they arrived at the end of May. SpaceX is aiming for a splashdown off the Florida coast in August — the first splashdown for astronauts in 45 years.
Weather permitting, the Dragon capsule will parachute into the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida Panhandle. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said once Tuesday’s spacewalk is finished, the astronauts are “going to be focused like a laser on coming home.” Bridenstine said the SpaceX test flight has gone exceedingly well so far.