United States astronaut breaks female record for most spacewalks

Rodiano Bonacci
Aprile 3, 2017

Dr. Whitson completed the 8th spacewalk of her career on Thursday, as she finished prep work on a docking port of the ISS, according to the Associated Press.

The goal of the six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk is to continue upgrading the International Space Station for the arrival of commercial spaceships in the years to come.

A team from the Mission Control Center at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston devised a plan for the astronauts to finish covering the port with the PMA-3 cover Whitson removed earlier in the day.

NASA astronaut Peggy Wilson broke the record for a spacewalking time by a female astronaut today on her eighth mission outside the International Space Station.

Ms. Williams had previously made seven spacewalks totaling 50 hours and 40 minutes and held the record for most spacewalks by a woman and most spacewalk time for a woman.

The micrometeoroid shield was one of four being installed on the Tranquility module's outboard port. Flight controllers quickly determined it posed no threat of recontacting the station and after conferring on the ground, engineers suggested the astronauts make up for the lost panel by installing a thermal shield they had just removed from a docking port extension. Whitson and Pesquet will leave the airlock for the last spacewalk in the series on April 6.

According to the AP, Whitson is scheduled to return to Earth in June but may extend her time in space for an additional three months, until September.

Whitson earned a doctorate in biochemistry and served as the first female space station commander in 2008.

Whitson, who is 57, has been in orbit since November. This is her third stay at the space station. Overall, she's spent more than 500 days off of planet earth also more than any other woman.

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