On Friday, May 12, International Space Station commander Peggy Whitson along with flight engineer Jack Fischer completed the 200thstation spacewalk.
The original plan was for the spacewalk to continue for six and a half hours. However, due to some technical problems, the mission had to be cut short to just around 4 hours and 13 minutes. The primary aim for the spacewalk was the replacement of a 200-pound faulty avionics box on the outside storage platform.
How Astronauts Completed The Spacewalk
The schedule of the spacewalk was delayed from the original plan when a technical fault was detected. One of the “umbilicals” — which is used to charge up the spacesuits before astronauts go out wearing them — had a water leak.
This leak resulted in both astronauts using the other umbilical to charge up each of their respective suits. The lower charge in the spacesuits severely limited the time they would provide power, oxygen, and life support to the wearer. This is why the team opted to complete only the highest priority task of replacing the damaged avionics.
Finally, the 200th extra-vehicular activity or EVA commenced at 9.08 a.m. EDT. Both astronauts rushed to complete the primary task. Fischer rode the Canadarm2 robotic arm to maneuver the heavy avionics box. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet was piloting the robotic structure from inside the station. Whitson and Fischer completed the task very quickly and mission control cleared them to complete some other less important responsibilities.
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) May 12, 2017
Whitson worked on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and installed a connector on the device. Fischer, on the other hand, worked on the insulation that had come loose previously and also installed protective shielding on some parts of the ISS.
Two other minor tasks involving installation of a high definition camera and antennas were postponed for a later spacewalk.
Whitson’s Historic Spacewalk
Not only was it the 200th station EVA, it was the ninth spacewalk for veteran astronaut and ISS commander Whitson. She is now ranked fifth in the list of the most hours logged for spacewalks. Friday’s EVA took her total spacewalk log time to 57 hours and 35 minutes. She has already become the woman with the most number of days spent in space.
The spacewalk was recorded by cameras and started with Fischer and Whitson discussing the beauty of space. This was the first EVA for Fischer and he seemed very excited.
“An enormous fondu pot bubbling over with piping hot awesome sauce!” spacewalker Fischer, exclaimed jokingly, when Whitson asked him how he liked the view from space.