US astronaut breaks record for most spacewalks by a woman

During 4 hours and 23 minutes into the mission, Whitson broke the record for spacewalking time by a woman astronaut with a total of 53 hours and 22 minutes. PMA-3 will provide the pressurized interface between the station and the second of two global docking adapters to be delivered to the complex to support the dockings of US commercial crew spacecraft in the future. The previous record was held by NASA astronaut Sunita Williams at 50 hours and 40 minutes.

Whitson also served as the ISS' first female commander from October 2007 to April 2008.

The space walk formally began at 7:29am when Whitson and her NASA colleague Shane Kimbrough switched their spacesuits to battery power before venturing into space.

After Kimbrough installed the new external computer, she met with Whitson to retrieve two pairs of axial shields that they lugged over to Node 3 where the PMA-3 was previously located.

According to NASA spokesman Dan Huot, the three remaining shields are being used to cover the craft's most vulnerable spots, so despite being an annoying setback, the situation isn't anywhere near as dire as one might assume, and won't put the ISS at any risk of danger.

NASA, meanwhile, has indefinitely delayed a spacewalk that had been scheduled for next week.

The agency didn't explain exactly how the part was lost or misplaced, but it's been made abundantly clear that it is no longer on the space station.

The new record for woman's spacewalking was established by Peggy Whitson. So, needless to say, the mood at Mission Control was tense. The astronauts connected cables from the PMA-3 to its final location at the utility hub of the ISS.

The world's oldest and most experienced spacewoman has just set another record, this time for spacewalking. After two days it was moved with the robotic arm of the space station.

Whitson will be making the eighth and ninth spacewalks of her career more than any other female astronaut. Pesquet will undertake the second and third spacewalks in his career.

These shields were required to cover the port that was left exposed when (earlier in the week) the PMA-3 was removed and installed robotically on the Harmony module.

Ms. Williams may have a chance to retake her title, as she's slated to return to the ISS next year aboard either SpaceX's Dragon capsule or Boeing's Starliner.

  • Carolyn Briggs