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

The International Space Station

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer put on spacesuits Friday to head outside the International Space Station for several fix and maintenance tasks, but the duo will likely only complete part of their work after a leaky cooling umbilical delayed the start of their spacewalk.

The duo will replace an avionics box that routes command and data information to external science experiments. The 57-year-old Whitson has also spent more days off the planet than any other woman (more than 500 days in total) and will be recognizable by the red stripes on her space suit.

But with the shortened spacewalk Friday, Whitson likely will remain at the No. 5 spot, just behind retired astronaut Jerry Ross.

The problem involved 'a small leak of water at the connection point of the service and cooling umbilical (SCU) as it was hooked up to Jack Fischer's spacesuit in the equipment lock section of the Quest airlock, ' said NASA commentator Rob Navias.

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".

Friday's spacewalk might seem a bit routine compared to NASA's first ISS spacewalk in 1998 when astronauts were putting the station together. Find us on Facebook too!

The two crew members will then install a protective shield on Pressurized Mating Adaptor-3, which will allow for a new docking port to attach for commercial crew. Officials suggested eventually transitioning the ISS from NASA to the private space industry.

It is the ninth spacewalk in Whitson's career, and the first for Fischer.

With landing September 3, Whitson's total time in space over three missions will stand at 666 days, moving her up to eighth in the world, just behind Yurchikhin at No. 7 with 673 days in orbit and six other cosmonauts. He and Commander Peggy Whitson were fit checking their spacesuits in advance of Friday's spacewalk. "It's a huge honor to work with all of you".

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