US spacewalkers overcome glitch on 200th station outing

IMAGE OF THE DAY: Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer Of NASA Prepares For ISS Spacewalk

IMAGE OF THE DAY: Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer Of NASA Prepares For ISS Spacewalk

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.

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.

During the spacewalk, NASA's Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer on Friday "successfully replaced a large avionics box that supplies electricity and data connections to the science experiments", the USA agency said in a statement.

Mission Control stressed throughout the day that Fischer's suit was fine and that the leak was confined to the umbilical hose. An equipment water leak has shortened the spacewalk.

The spacewalk began at 9.08 a.m., about one hour after the planned start time, and ended at 1:21 p.m.

The airlock is equipped with two such umbilicals to provide cooling water, power and data while the astronauts are inside the station, preserving the suits' batteries for the actual EVA. The two were able to complete the task of removing a faulty electricity and data box that aides experiments on the exterior of ISS.

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"It has been exhibiting some thermal issues of late, so it is being replaced", explained Navias.

The outing is the first for Fischer, who goes by the nickname '2Fish'. Whitson beat the record for the most time spent on spacewalks by a woman on her last excursion out of the station, in March.

After the first three minutes the fuel ran out and White maneuvered by twisting his body and pulling on the tether.

NASA's bulky white spacesuits are aging, and the same models have been in use for four decades. They attached the first two components of the station: a Russian module and a US one.

Today's spacewalk builds on a historic career for Peggy Whitson.