The two Nasa astronauts captured some breathtaking images of earth from the ISS (Nasa) / Nasa

The spacewalks were in preparation for the arrival of commercial craft to the ISS in 2017

Nasa has released incredible GoPro footage taken by its astronauts as they embarked on three spacewalks to prepare for the expected arrival of commercial space crafts to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2017.

The incredible clips show breath-taking views of earth from space and never before seen astronaut point-of-view images of the outside of the ISS as Nasa astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts filmed themselves carrying out essential maintenance work on the craft.

In total, two videos were released by Nasa, each an hour long, all made with footage taken from three walks by the American astronauts in late February and early March. During the walks, the two men set up antennas and routed 4000 feet of power and data cables to prepare for the arrival of commercial crafts that Nasa hopes will be ready in 2017.

The footage gives those chosen to man these commercial crafts an idea of what they can expect when they arrive on the ISS.

Last year, Nasa signed a contract with commercial spaceflight companies SpaceX and Boeing to work together to produce a new craft that is able to ferry Nasa astronauts to the ISS.

Since Nasa’s space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011 after nearly 30 years in orbital service, Nasa has relied on Russian Soyuz capsules to take its astronauts up to the ISS at a cost of $70 million per seat.

They hope their multibillion pound deals with SpaceX and Boeing will make them less dependent on Russia and significantly cut the costs of transportation to the ISS in the future.