Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson is set to suppress Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams’ record for the most spacewalks by a female astronaut when Whitson goes on her eighth spacewalk on Thursday.
“Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson is set to go on her eighth spacewalk Thursday morning and surpass astronaut Suni Williams’ record for the most spacewalks by a female astronaut,” NASA scientists wrote on a blog post on Wednesday.
Whitson along with Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA will reconnect the cables and electrical connections on PMA-3 at its new home on top Harmony.
The two astronauts will also install the second of the two upgraded computer relay boxes on the station’s truss and install shields and covers on PMA-3 and the now-vacant common berthing mechanism port on Tranquility.
“Thursday’s spacewalk will see Whitson and Kimbrough finish cable connections at the Pressurised Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) just recently attached to the Harmony module’s space-facing port,” the blog post said.
Whitson has spent a total of 322 days in space on two missions. With 50 hours and 40 minutes, she also holds the record of total cumulative spacewalk time by a female astronaut.
This will be the 199th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. NASA is live steaming the six-and-a-half hour spacewalk and you can Watch it HERE. Also, NASA TV is providing complete coverage of the spacewalk scheduled about 8 a.m. EDT, Thursday.
Whitson’s last spacewalk was on January 6 with Kimbrough when she hooked up new lithium-ion batteries and inspected the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
The PMA-3 relocation gets the station ready for the new International Docking Adapter-3 set to be delivered on a future SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.
The spacewalk is Kimbrough’s sixth of his career and Whitson’s eight of her career. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who conducted last week’s spacewalk with Kimbrough, will assist the duo in and out of their spacesuits and monitor the activities from inside the station.