Equipment water leak shortens spacewalk by 2 USA astronauts

James Marshall
May 14, 2017

Eastern time on Friday, Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will undertake the station's 200th spacewalk. But as they were gearing up for the task, they noticed a small problem in the servicing and cooling umbilical (SCU) - a device that supplies power and oxygen to the spacesuits worn by astronauts. "This is not the suit itself". He told mission control the Earth looked like a "giant fondue pot bubbling over with awesomesauce". The hose provides water, power, cooling and communications for astronauts before they float outside.

Watch the spacewalk live from NASA's website here.

The start of the spacewalk, originally slated to last 6.5 hours, was delayed more than an hour while the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration revamped plans due to the leak, which developed as Fischer's suit was being prepared. That prompted the U.S. space agency to shorten the outing and assign the astronauts just one task.

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

The spacewalk is the ninth of Whitson's career.

But the spacewalk was allowed to go ahead because according to NASA procedures, the astronauts can share one functioning SCU.

Current world record for the largest number of spacewalks is held by Russian astronaut Anatoly Solovyev, who has been on 16 spacewalks and spent more than 82 hours outside in space.

NASA handout photo obtained May 12, 2017 shows Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA seen inside the International Space Station (ISS) in his spacesuit during a fit check, in preparation for a spacewalk. They attached the first two components of the station: a Russian module and a US one.

NASA's bulky white spacesuits are aging, and the same models have been in use for four decades.

The first spacewalk ever conducted at the station was on December 7 that year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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