Equipment water leak stalls spacewalk by 2 U.S. astronauts

International Space Station Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer floated in space and into the record books after the two astronauts made the 200 spacewalk in support of the orbiting laboratory.

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

Mission Control stressed throughout the day that Fischer's suit was fine and that the leak was confined to the umbilical hose. NASA is streaming the entire four hour endeavor on its channel here.

NASA is providing live coverage of the spacewalk over at NASA TV.

But as the astronauts were suited up and preparing to go into the de-pressurization airlock, they noticed a water leak at the connection point of Fischer's spacesuit and the station's cooling and power system "umbilical cord". Whitson spent 4 hours and 15 minutes outside the space station, while Fischer spent 4 hours and 13 minutes in space.

'This is not the suit itself.

Spacewalks usually last about six-and-a-half hours, but today's was "abbreviated" due to the late start and lasted four hours and 13 minutes, Navias said.

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'This is the connection point of the component in the airlock itself that provides power, oxygen, cooling water and communications lines to the two crew members while they are in the process of biding their time, pre-breathing pure oxygen, in the airlock itself'.

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Once the spacewalk begins, the astronauts will take turns using the SCU, and will alternate using battery power in their suits.

Friday's spacewalk comes at a time of uncertainty for the ISS. The device - a bit unwieldy at more than 5 feet long - supplies electricity and data to science experiments on the outside of the station.

"It has been exhibiting some thermal issues of late, so it is being replaced", explained Navias. The historic spacewalk was Fischer's first. She already holds the US record for most spacewalks by a female astronaut. For Fischer, it's his first.

The first United States spacewalk started at 3:45 p.m. EDT on the third orbit when White opened the hatch and used the hand-held manuevering oxygen-jet gun to push himself out of the capsule.

  • Douglas Reid