Watch Peggy Whitson Historic Spacewalk On International Space Station

Viewers will have the chance to virtually join Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson "reconnecting cables and electrical connections on PMA-3 at its new home on top Harmony", according to a statement from Nasa.

As Whitson and Kimbrough installed the three remaining shields, Mission Control quickly came up with a TV MacGyver-like plan for a patch.

Each of the four cloth shields weighs 18 pounds and is a little over 5 feet long, 2 feet wide and nearly 3 inches thick, Huot said.

You can see the actual event happen in the gif below, which occurred about midway through their seven-hour spacewalk.

Thursday's spacewalk was the 199th in support of assembly and maintenance of the space station, launched in 1998, NASA said. During the spacewalk, the astronauts lost one of the important cloth shields needed for the space station.

Immediately, teams gathered in a Mission Control office that contained replicas of everything up in space, Huot said. Almost two hours later, the shield was seen as a white speck in the distance.

The space agency noted the two astronauts finally finished covering the spot with a PMA-3 cover they removed earlier in the day.

Whitson, meanwhile, has set a new spacewalking record for women. It was held by former space station resident Sunita Williams.

Astronaut Peggy Whitson (center) helps spacewalkers Thomas Pesquet (left) and Shane Kimbrough suit up before beginning their spacewalk Jan 13, 2017.

NASA says it is not yet clear who let the shield go or how it floated away.

It was Whitson's eighth spacewalk, also a record for a female astronaut. Whitson now also has the most cumulative spacewalking time, beating Williams' record of five hours and 40 minutes.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson broke a record Thursday by making the eighth spacewalk of her career - putting her number of spacewalking hours higher than any other woman astronaut. That's the most spacewalks ever performed by a woman.

The space station already has one IDA, and the second will be delivered on a future SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.

  • Carolyn Briggs