Equipment water leak shortens spacewalk by 2 US astronauts

Fischer spacesuit test May 11

This will be the ninth spacewalk for Whitson and the first for Fischer.

NASA celebrated an important milestone Friday: its 200th spacewalk on the International Space Station.

According to NASA, during their planned 6.5-hour spacewalk, the astronauts will also install a protective shield on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3, which was moved from the Tranquility to the Harmony module in March.

Mission Control stressed throughout the day that Fischer's suit was fine and that the leak was confined to the umbilical hose.

The spacewalk is the 200th in support of station assembly and maintenance since construction began in 1998 on the $100-billion laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

The sharing of the equipment will affect their battery power, and the spacewalk was now expected to last about four hours.

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The astronauts will exit the station's Quest airlock to replace an avionics box that routes command and data information to external science experiments.

During preparations earlier in the morning, water leaked from the connection point between an umbilical hose and Fischer's suit.

Running more than an hour behind schedule, U.S. EVA-42 began at 9:08 a.m. EDT (GMT-4). The replacement unit arrived at the ISS last month on a Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft. He and Commander Peggy Whitson were fit checking their spacesuits in advance of Friday's spacewalk.

"Only because of legends like Peggy, and Jerry Ross and [Jim] Newman [who took that first station spacewalk] and the guys who started this, that made this possible", Fischer replied. However, due to the delay at the beginning of the mission, some of the secondary tasks of the spacewalk might have to be canceled.

NASA's bulky white spacesuits are aging, and the same models have been in use for four decades. That prompted the U.S. space agency to shorten the outing and assign the astronauts just one task.

"Oh my gosh, this is lovely", Fischer said as he stepped out into space for the first time, saying his view is like "an enormous fondu pot bubbling over with piping hot awesome-sauce".

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