NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer will perform a landmark 200th spacewalk at the International Space Station Friday, May 12. Live coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Whitson, Expedition 51 commander, and Fischer will venture outside the Quest airlock to replace a large avionics box that supplies electricity and data connections to the science experiments, and replacement hardware stored outside the station.
The ExPRESS Carrier Avionics, or ExPCA is located on the starboard 3 truss of the station on one of the depots housing critical spare parts. It will be replaced with a unit delivered to the station last month aboard the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft.
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 cosmic ray detector.
During the planned 6.5-hour spacewalk, the astronauts also will install a protective shield on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3, which was moved from the Tranquility to the Harmony module in March. This adapter will host a new international docking port for the arrival of commercial crew spacecraft. Whitson and Fischer also will rig a new high-definition camera and pair of wireless antennas to the exterior of the outpost.
Whitson, who already holds the U.S. record for most spacewalks by a female astronaut, will make this ninth excursion as extravehicular crew member 1, wearing the suit with red stripes. Fischer, extravehicular crew member 2, will wear the suit with no stripes on his first-ever spacewalk.
The first spacewalk in support of International Space Station assembly and maintenance was conducted on Dec. 7, 1998, by NASA astronauts Jerry Ross and Jim Newman during space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-88 mission. Astronauts completed attaching and outfitting of the first two components of the station, the Russian Zarya module and the U.S. Unity module.
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