NASA is now in the middle of a financial battle with the Trump administration but the agency is making sure that it's still keeping its current active programs in top condition, as evidenced by the International Space Station's activities.
French and an American astronaut floated outside the International Space Station Friday for a spacewalk to upgrade the orbiting outpost for the arrival of future space crews.
Watch highlights of a spacewalk by Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency.
Kimbrough is also doing a few additional tasks during his spacewalk today, such as upgrading a computer processor on the outside of the station and changing out lightbulbs on a couple of cameras. He was in charge of performing maintenance to the space station, unrelated to PMA-3.
Whitson will be making the eighth and ninth spacewalks of her career more than any other female astronaut. Pesquet will undertake the second and third spacewalks in his career.
Friday's spacewalk set the stage for a second docking location.
The plan for the final spacewalk is for Whitson and Pesquet to replace an avionics box on the starboard truss called an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier, a storage platform.
"We've been tracking a small rate of leakage from that ammonia system over the past year or so, and our external robotics systems have determined a most likely location where the system may be leaking", NASA Flight Director Emily Nelson said at the news conference.
Pesquet spent two hours looking for the ammonia leak but found no signs. Once he's done with that, Pesquet will then grease up the end of one of the station's robotic arms, which is in need of some lubrication. Radiators are used to shed excess heat that builds up through normal space station operation. He spent four hours applying the lubricant to LEE.
On Sunday, ground control teams will use the station's robot arm to move it onto a different module.
The two spacewalkers finally made it back to the airlock for good, ending the mission at 1:58 p.m. EDT (1758 GMT). Friday's spacewalk is the second of Pesquet's career, and the fifth for Kimbrough.
On Thursday (March 30), Kimbrough and Whitson will continue EVA work with PMA-3 while Pesquet assists from inside the station.