NASA's 200th spacewalk on International Space Station cut short by water leak

Phillip Butler
May 13, 2017

The spacewalk suffered a delayed start when one of the service and cooling "umbilicals" that charge up the spacesuits before exit sprung a small water leak, so the two astronauts had to trade off use of the other umbilical for power, oxygen, communications and cooling as they prepared to leave the airlock.

It was Fischer's first spacewalk, and the ninth for Whitson, who last month broke the record for cumulative time in orbit by a USA astronaut.

But the spacewalk was allowed to go ahead because according to NASA procedures, the astronauts can share one functioning SCU. Whitson, making her ninth spacewalk, and Fischer, making his first, opened the hatch a few moments later and then floated outside to begin an expected four-hour excursion.

The pair completed all the major work scheduled for the day, with the exception of a couple of minor tasks, he said. As a result, Mission Control cut the spacewalk from the intended 6 ½ hours to four hours even before it began, and ditched all but the most important chore — replacing an electronics box.

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

"Only because of legends like Peggy, and Jerry Ross and [Jim] Newman [who took that first station spacewalk] and the guys who started this, that made this possible", Fischer replied.

"Ooh, it's the Bahamas!" he fawned at one point.

Going into today's spacewalk, Whitson had logged a cumulative 53 hours and 22 minutes of EVA time over eight previous outings, putting her fifth on the list of most experienced spacewalkers and No. 1 among females with EVA experience. The 200 mark includes assembly and maintenance by Russian spacewalkers as well as United States.

"It is a huge honor to work with all of you".

The 1 spacewalk in support of construction, maintenance or fix of the space station happened in 1998, when the NASA still used space shuttles and the space station itself was like a tiny, New York City apartment compared to the expansive space mansion that it is today.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

Discuss This Article