Astronaut Peggy Whitson is set to surpass Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams’ record for the most spacewalks by a female astronaut when Whitson goes on her eighth spacewalk on Thursday, NASA said. Williams has spent a total of 322 days in space on two missions. With 50 hours and 40 minutes, she also holds the record total cumulative spacewalk time by a female astronaut.
“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’s last spacewalk was on January 6 with Commander Shane Kimbrough when she hooked up new lithium-ion batteries and inspected the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
“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.
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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.
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.