Water leak delays historic 200th spacewalk

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is seen during a Jan. 6 2017 spacewalk during Expedition 50 aboard the International Space Station. 	Credits NASA

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is seen during a Jan. 6 2017 spacewalk during Expedition 50 aboard the International Space Station. Credits NASA

A pair of NASA astronauts, Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer, are preparing to complete the 200th spacewalk in support of the International Space Station.

NASA succeeds in its historic spacewalk on Friday, although it all began with a micro-gravity curveball.

This will be the 200th spacewalk for the construction and maintenance of the orbiting outpost.

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.

Spacewalks usually last about six and a half hours, but Friday's would be "abbreviated" due to the late start and would last about four hours, Navias said.

Whitson and Fischer were to replace a large avionics box responsible for supplying electricity, data connections and replacement hardware outside of the space station.

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

Running more than an hour behind schedule, U.S. EVA-42 began at 9:08 a.m. EDT (GMT-4). The parts finally arrived late last month aboard Orbital ATK's commercial cargo ship, the S.S. John Glenn, named after the first American to orbit Earth. Whitson, who is wearing a suit with red stripes, holds the record for most spacewalks by a female American astronaut. Whitson is also the first woman to command the ISS, a feat achieved in 2008, and holds the record for most time an American has spent in space.

The spacewalkers "breezed through" and mananged to get to all of the major tasks originally planned for the spacewalk, despite the wrinkles at the beginning and limited time available, an announcement at Johnson Space Center in Houston said.

NASA completed its first ISS spacewalk on December 7, 1998, just 17 days after the space station first launched. She holds the record for the most spacewalks by a female United States astronaut, and today's outing will be her ninth. NASA is especially wary of leaks involving spacesuits.

"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.

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