Saturday, 18 November, 2017

U.S. spacewalkers overcome glitch on 200th station outing

A view of Earth from the International Space Station A view of Earth from the International Space Station
Heather Davidson | 13 May, 2017, 09:42

Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA floats inside the International Space Station while wearing his spacesuit.

NASA completed its first ISS spacewalk on December 7, 1998, just 17 days after the space station first launched.

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer worked outside the International Space Station May 12 on his first-ever spacewalk.

During their time outside the station, Whitson and Fischer will replace an avionics box situated on the station's starboard 3 truss. This is also the 9th time Whitson has taken part in a spacewalk, extending her record as the American woman with the most spacewalks in history.

This is far from Whitson's first (space) rodeo, as she now holds the record for most spacewalks performed by an American woman, but it's Fischer's first time.

Whitson and Fischer shared a second good cable, known as an umbilical, as they prepared to leave the station's airlock, which burned through some of their spacesuits' battery power.

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An issue with some gear inside the airlock ahead of the spacewalk forced mission managers to delay the start time and shorten the walk in space. The ExPRESS Carrier Avionics supplies electricity and data connections to science experiments aboard the station.

Current world record for the largest number of spacewalks is held by Russian astronaut Anatoly Solovyev, who has been on 16 spacewalks and spent more than 82 hours outside in space. Here's to 200 more spacewalks!

In the end, Whitson and Fischer accomplished everything but the installation of a high-definition TV camera and wireless communication antennas.

"This is awesome, to be able to do the 200th EVA [extra-vehicular activity] on board the space station", Whitson said as the spacewalk came to an end.

Even during times of extreme geopolitical stress, when U.S. -Russia relations are awful (like now for example), the Space Station is the one place where we're always speaking to one another.

Today, the $100 billion orbiting lab is roughly the size of a football field and a symbol of global cooperation among the 15 nations that have helped build and operate it.

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