Peggy Whitson breaks spacewalking record for a female astronaut

After 4 hours and 23 minutes into the ISS mission, Peggy Whitson established a new record for accumulated spacewalking time as a female astronaut.

For now, a makeshift (but dependable) cover has been used to protect the docking port. NASA spokesman Dan Huot told Space.com a more permanent plan will be decided upon later, with the present being "too early to make the call".

The spacewalk from March 30 was bound to mark the work developed at the ISS for preparing the space station to accommodate a commercial spaceship. When she launched previous year from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan she became the oldest woman to fly in space and the oldest woman to perform a spacewalk.

Iowa native astronaut Peggy Whitson set another record on Thursday.

With this spacewalk, Whitson has now walked in space a total of eight times. She is supposed to install a new docking port for ferry ships, upgrade computer relay box, and attach shielding for protection. She has been successful in surpassing the 50-hour, 40-minute record total cumulative spacewalk time by a female astronaut.

Exasperated, Kimbrough called out to say: "Peggy, I don't have a shield", and Whitson noticed it, saying "Ah.it is right by the radiator".

Whitson and Kimbrough's mission was to finish the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) cable connections that were just recently attached to the Harmony module's space-facing port. She surpassed the record of American Suni Williams with seven spacewalks, thus Whitson breaking the record as having the most spacewalks by a woman.

When it comes being an astronaut, one of the most important requirements is flexibility - the ability to adapt to unexpected situations and come up with solutions on the fly.

NASA said engineers determined it posed no safety threat to the astronauts or to the station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (402 km) above Earth. Last month, she turned 57 in orbit, the oldest woman in space.

She's been on board the ISS since November.

  • Carolyn Briggs