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Friday Stroll? How About a Spacewalk?

Friday Stroll? How About a Spacewalk?

On Friday, May 12, NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will venture outside the International Space Station, into the vacuum of space, for a spacewalk.

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Space Fact: This will be the 200th spacewalk performed on the space station!

You can watch their entire 6.5 hour spacewalk live online! (Viewing info below!) To tell the two astronauts apart in their bulky spacewalk suits, Whitson will be wearing the suit with red stripes, while Jack Fischer will have white stripes.

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Space Fact: The first-ever spacewalk on the International Space Station was performed on Dec. 7, 1998.

For Peggy, this will be her ninth spacewalk! She actually holds the record for most spacewalks by a female astronaut. For Fischer, this is his first time in space, and will be his first spacewalk. You can see from the below Tweet, he’s pretty excited!

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Once both astronauts venture outside the Quest airlock, their tasks will focus on:

  1. Replacing a large avionic box that supplies electricity and data connections to the science experiments
  2. Replacing hardware stored outside the station

Specifically, the ExPRESS Carrier Avionics, or ExPCA will be replaced with a unit delivered to the station last month aboard the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft.

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Ever wonder how astronauts prepare and practice for these activities? Think about it, wearing a bulky spacesuit (with gloves!), floating in the vacuum of space, PLUS you have to perform complex tasks for a period of ~6.5 hours! 

In order to train on Earth, astronauts complete tasks in our Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL). It’s a gigantic pool with a full mock up of the International Space Station! Here’s a clip of astronauts practicing to install the ExPCA in that practice pool at Johnson Space Center in Houston. 

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In addition, Whitson and Fischer will install a connector that will route data to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and help the crew determine the most efficient way to conduct future maintenance on the cosmic ray detector.

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The astronauts will also install a protective shield on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3, which was moved in March. This adapter will host a new international docking port for the arrival of commercial crew spacecraft.

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Finally, the duo will rig a new high-definition camera and pair of wireless antennas to the exterior of the outpost.

Watch the Spacewalk Live!

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Live coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. EDT, with spacewalk activities starting at 8 a.m. EDT. 

Stream the entire spacewalk live online at nasa.gov/live 

OR 

Watch live on the International Space Station Facebook page starting at 7:00 a.m. EDT

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