Equipment water leak shortens spacewalk by 2 USA astronauts

Equipment water leak shortens spacewalk by 2 USA astronauts

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer perform the 200th spacewalk at the International Space Station.

The glitch affected equipment known as the servicing and cooling umbilical (SCU), which supplies power and oxygen to the spacesuits, discovered as the astronauts were seated in the airlock inside the space station.

NASA chose to shorten the mission from the original six and a half hour plan, due to a glitch during earlier spacewalk preparations.

The duo will replace an avionics box that routes command and data information to external science experiments.

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With time to spare, they then tackled chores slated for the original spacewalk, including installing a cable to troubleshoot a cooling system problem with the station's $2 billion dark matter detector, mission commentator Rob Navias said.

The spacewalk officially began at 9:08 a.m. EDT.

It was the first spacewalk for Fischer, who arrived at the station less than a month ago.

During the planned 6.5-hour spacewalk, the astronauts will also install a protective shield on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3, which was moved from the Tranquility to the Harmony module in March, as reported.

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One day later, Soyuz MS-03 commander Oleg Novitskiy and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet plan to return to Earth, landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan to close out a 196-day mission.

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. Initially, White propelled himself to the end of the 8-meter tether and back to the spacecraft three times using the hand-held gun.

Friday's excursion is the 200th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance since December 1998, and the fifth this year.

An issue with some gear inside the airlock ahead of the spacewalk forced mission managers to delay the start time and shorten the walk in space.

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