MAY 23, 2017 08:07 AM PDT

ISS Astronauts Conduct Emergency Spacewalk

International Space Station astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer were given short notice over the weekend about having to conduct an urgent spacewalk to repair faulty electronic equipment outside the space station.

The two crewmembers from Expedition 51 suited up and began the spacewalk at 8 A.M. EST time on Tuesday to replace a multiplexer-demultiplexer (MDM) data relay box that failed Saturday morning; fortunately, none of the astronauts aboard the ISS were in any imminent danger as a result of the faulty component.

Astronauts conduct the 201st spacewalk on the International Space Station for urgent repairs Tuesday morning.

Image Credit: NASA

According to NASA, the 50-pound data relay box is important for the proper operation of various equipment on the ISS, including solar arrays, cooling loops, and radiators, among other things.

Fortunately, the defective unit wasn’t getting in the way of any typical operations on the International Space Station, and replacing it as soon as possible helps to ensure that this will remain the case for a long time going forward.

Related: NASA is running out space space suits... so now what?

There is more than one data relay box like this one on the ISS, and the second one was reportedly functioning as expected. This redundant system helps serve as a backup in situations like this one where one fails, as the other can pick up the slack.

Whitson reportedly prepared and tested a replacement data relay box on Sunday inside of the ISS just after it was confirmed that there would be an emergency spacewalk on Tuesday. It was that replacement that was bolted to the ISS Tuesday morning.

Because spacewalks are dangerous and risky maneuvers, especially given the water leak problems that have been occuring frequently with NASA's aging space suits, the space agency likes to get as much done as possible on a single spacewalk rather than doing more of them than they have to. For this reason, the astronauts were also tasked with installing wireless communicators outside the ISS after the repair was completed, effectively killing two birds with one stone.

You can watch parts of the spacewalk in the video excerpt below:

This marks the 201st American spacewalk in history, and closely tails the 200th American spacewalk that took place just 10 days ago by the same two astronauts. Whitson is the currently world’s most experienced female astronaut and holds the current record for the highest number of spacewalks for an American astronaut; 10 in total.

Source: NASA via The Verge

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 17, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 17, 2018
Astronaut Peggy Whitson Retires From NASA
Renowned NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson retired from the American space agency on Friday, just nine months after returning to Earth from the International Sp...
AUG 12, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 12, 2018
NASA's Parker Solar Probe Rockets Toward the Sun
There’s been some serious hype regarding NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in recent memory, but now all that hype is now closer than it ever has been...
AUG 13, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 13, 2018
Giant Star Sets Record for Lithium Composition, Researchers Say
While scanning far and wide with the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST), astronomers from the National Astronomical Observa...
AUG 19, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 19, 2018
Lockheed Martin Shows Off Deep-Space Habitation Module Concept
There’s more to deep-space missions than merely launching astronauts into outer space and saying “good luck!” The eventual goal necessita...
AUG 20, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 20, 2018
Martian Dust Storm Begins Clearing, Sparking Hope for the Opportunity Rover
Back in June, Mars became enveloped by a planet-wide dust storm. The dust from the storm blocked so much sunlight that NASA felt compelled to put its solar...
SEP 10, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 10, 2018
The James Webb Space Telescope May Help Astronomers Search for Alien Life
Despite an onslaught of delays that have thus far prevented NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope from being launched into space, the space observatory p...
Loading Comments...