Astronauts ace station's 200th spacewalk, shortened by leak

A view of Earth from the International Space Station

A view of Earth from the International Space Station

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer worked outside the International Space Station May 12 on his first-ever spacewalk.

Two American astronauts on Friday carried out the 200th spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS) despite an early equipment glitch that had delayed and shortened the mission.

"Lot of curveballs this morning", NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren radioed to the crew from Mission Control in Houston. A small amount of water leaked from the connection point between an umbilical hose and Jack Fischer's suit. 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.

During their time outside the station, Whitson and Fischer will replace an avionics box situated on the station's starboard 3 truss.

"This was not a leak in Fischer's suit", NASA said, adding "The sharing of the SCU resulted in additional draw in battery power from the suits during preparations while in the Equipment Lock, reducing the battery power available for use during the spacewalk".

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

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It was discovered as the astronauts were seated in the airlock inside the space station.

Fischer's enthusiasm for the beauty of the Earth beneath him was apparent throughout the spacewalk.

This will be the ninth spacewalk for 57-year-old Whitson who is a record holder among U.S. astronauts for the longest period of stay in outer space while 43-year-old Fischer will venture his first spacewalk.

The EVA started over the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii and lasted 23 minutes, ending over the Gulf of Mexico.

After the first three minutes the fuel ran out and White maneuvered by twisting his body and pulling on the tether.

The first spacewalk in service of the space station, in December 1998, focused on attaching the orbiting lab's very first modules: the U.S. Unity module, which NASA crew brought into space on the space shuttle Endeavor, and the Russian Zarya module, which had already been launched into orbit. However, due to the delay at the beginning of the mission, some of the secondary tasks of the spacewalk might have to be canceled.

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