Glitch shortens 200th spacewalk at International Space Station

Lena Tucker
May 13, 2017

Two US astronauts overcame an early equipment glitch to complete an abbreviated spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Friday, accomplishing all the major tasks initially planned for a longer excursion in four hours, NASA said.

This is the 9th spacewalk for the veteran Whitson, the most of any female US astronaut, and for Fischer, it's the very first. Peggy Whitson successfully completed her 9 spacewalk, the most of any female astronaut.

Fischer has never spacewalked before.

Other jobs in Friday's spacewalk plan before the umbilical leak included the setup of a new high-definition video camera and a pair of wireless antennas outside the research complex, plus inspections and repairs of insulation on the station's Japanese robotic arm.

The first spacewalk in service of the space station, in December 1998, focused on attaching the orbiting lab's very first modules: the U.S. Unity module, which NASA crew brought into space on the space shuttle Endeavor, and the Russian Zarya module, which had already been launched into orbit. It wasn't originally assigned as Fischer's task, so Whitson and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, spacewalk communicator back on the ground, guided him through the steps.

The astronauts will exit the station's Quest airlock to replace an avionics box that routes command and data information to external science experiments. The adaptor will enable companies like SpaceX and Boeing to visit the station, making it an important port for the future of space exploration.

The first United States spacewalk started at 3:45 p.m. EDT on the third orbit when White opened the hatch and used the hand-held manuevering oxygen-jet gun to push himself out of the capsule.

After the first three minutes the fuel ran out and White maneuvered by twisting his body and pulling on the tether. Here's to 200 more spacewalks! NASA TV coverage begins at 5:30 AM CDT. NASA is especially wary of leaks involving spacesuits.

But with the shortened spacewalk Friday, Whitson likely will remain at the No. 5 spot, just behind retired astronaut Jerry Ross.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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