US spacewalkers overcome glitch on 200th station outing

The International Space Station

Two U.S. astronauts floated outside the International Space Station on Friday on a four-hour spacewalk with an abbreviated task list after a cable supplying power, oxygen, cooling water and communications to a spacesuit developed a leak, NASA said.

The pair will move through the Quest airlock to replace an avionics box used for science experiments, while also installing a connector to route data through the alpha magnetic spectrometer.

Running more than an hour behind schedule, U.S. EVA-42 began at 9:08 a.m. EDT (GMT-4).

"Managers in mission control made a decision to shorten the spacewalk from the original six and a half hour plan, due to available battery power for the spacesuits", according to NASA. As a result, NASA officials made a decision to limit the time spent outside the station to roughly four hours - only enough time to accomplish the primary objective.

NASA reports that Whitson is the US record holder for spacewalks done by a woman, and this will be her ninth trip outside of the space station.

She holds the record for most spacewalks by a woman, and ranks fifth for the most hours spent in space by an astronaut, with 57 hours and 35 minutes.

Fischer's enthusiasm for the beauty of the Earth beneath him was apparent throughout the spacewalk.

During earlier preparations, a small amount of water leaked from the connection point between an umbilical hose and Fischer's suit.

Fischer, who is wearing a suit with no stripes, is undertaking his first ever spacewalk. That prompted the USA space agency to shorten the outing and assign the astronauts just one task.

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

The spacewalk is the ninth of Whitson's career.

In light of that, it's pretty unbelievable that there haven't been any astronaut or cosmonaut deaths or serious injuries during spacewalks since they began at the station in 1998.

As the spacewalk concluded, Whitson said it was "amazing" to have completed the station's 200th spacewalk.

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