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Extra Spacewalk Restores Backup Capability Aboard ISS

Spacewalking astronauts made urgent repairs at the International Space Station. Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson and astronaut Jack Fischer went out for over two-and-a-half hours on Tuesday morning.

Astronaut Jack Fisher waves while attached to the Destiny laboratory during a spacewalk to install a pair of wireless antennas.

The spacewalk came three days after a critical relay box abruptly stopped working. Even though a second unit managed the data load just fine, NASA scrambled to put together the spacewalk in order to restore backup capability. The system is vital for operating the station’s solar panels, radiators and robotic equipment.

“See you later, Peggy!” “Alrighty.” “Good luck!” “You, too!”  

Astronaut Peggy Whitson, pictured on an earlier spacewalk. Tuesday’s spacewalk was to replace a failed data relay box.

Commander Peggy Whitson focused on the 250-mile-high replacement job.

“At the work site, or at least next to the work site.” “Copy, Peggy. You’ll be temp-filling your MDM or U-bag on top of the Nader MDM. Suggested tethering to the SETA handrail.”  

Meanwhile, Jack Fischer installed a pair of wireless antennas on the U.S. Destiny laboratory module to enhance communication for future spacewalks. From Houston, he gets the usual standard cautions and warnings.

“2-Fish, I have a caution for you: When you get over the the lab forward end cone, do not use the EWAs antennas as a handrail.” “Copy that.”   

Whitson now ties the record for most spacewalks by an American — ten — and third place all-time for cumulative spacewalking time.

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