Peggy Whitson Breaks Spacewalking Record

Astronaut Peggy Whitson
Astronaut Peggy Whitson signs her autograph near an Expedition 50 mission patch attached to the inside the International Space Station.

At 11:51 a.m. EDT, Peggy Whitson broke the record for cumulative spacewalking time by a female astronaut, previously held by NASA astronaut Sunita Williams. This was Whitson’s eighth spacewalk.

So far, Whitson and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough have successfully installed an upgraded computer relay box and hooked up cables and electrical connections on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3. PMA-3 will provide the pressurized interface between the station and the second of two international docking adapters to be delivered to the complex to support the dockings of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft in the future.

The duo were also tasked with installing four thermal protection shields on the Tranquility module of the International Space Station. The shields were required to cover the port where the PMA-3 was removed earlier in the week and robotically installed on the Harmony module. During the spacewalk, one of the shields was inadvertently lost. The loss posed no immediate danger to the astronauts and Kimbrough and Whitson went on to successfully install the remaining shields on the common berthing mechanism port.

A team from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston devised a plan for the astronauts to finish covering the port with the PMA-3 cover Whitson removed earlier in the day. The plan worked, and the cover was successfully installed, providing thermal protection and micrometeoroid and orbital debris cover for the port.

The spacewalk is planned to last six and a half hours.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

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