NASA’s Peggy Whitson sets spacewalk record

Spacewalkers at work
NASA spacewalkers Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough work on the International Space Station. The astronauts had to improvise a fix to make up for a lost piece of cloth shielding. (NASA TV)

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson set a new record for female spacewalkers at the International Space Station today, during an outing that required a little improvisation to make up for a wayward hatch cover.

One of the aim of today’s spacewalk was to hook up connections at the new location for the station’s Pressurized Mating Adapter-3, or PMA-3, which will serve as a docking point for future commercial space taxis. The spacewalk followed up on the PMA-3’s transfer from the station’s Tranquility module to the Harmony module, accomplished with the station’s robotic arm.

Whitson and her NASA crewmate, Shane Kimbrough, were also supposed to install four protective shields over the port where the PMA-3 gateway used to be attached. Things got complicated, however, when one of the shields was inadvertently lost and drifted away from the station.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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