Peggy Whitson Breaks Spacewalking Record

The spacewalkers hooked up heater cables to the port Thursday.

Images on NASA television showed the shield as a small white dot in the darkness.

They will also install shields and covers on PMA-3 and the now-vacant common berthing mechanism port on Tranquility.

The space walk formally began at 7:29am when Whitson and her NASA colleague Shane Kimbrough switched their spacesuits to battery power before venturing into space.

Kimbrough disconnected the port during a spacewalk last Friday.

"You guys be safe and enjoy your time out", French astronaut Thomas Pesquet radioed from inside the space station.

Kimbrough and fellow American Peggy Whitson are performing a spacewalk to update the International Space Station for future cargo missions.

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The third spacewalk is scheduled for April 6, with Whitson and Pesquet and robotic help from Kimbrough. On Thursday, March 30, 2017, Whitson set a record for the most spacewalks by a woman, eight, as she works on preparations for a new docking port on the ISS. When the spacewalk concluded, Whitson's total EVA time stood at 53 hours and 22 minutes, moving her up to fifth on the list of most experienced spacewalkers. Williams is one of four NASA astronauts who will make the initial test flights of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner capsules.

FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 file photo, US astronaut Peggy Whitson, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station, waves from a bus prior the launch of Soyuz MS-3 spaceship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. She's 57, originally from Beaconsfield, Iowa, and has a doctorate in biochemistry.

Earlier this month, she said in an interview on NASA television that she has spent her time at the orbiting lab growing stem cells for a science experiment on cell therapies for cancer.

This was the 199th EVA in station history, the fourth so far this year, the sixth for Kimbrough and the eighth for Whitson. Frustration was evident in Whitson's voice as she told Mission Control about the mishap.

The pair installed three other debris shields during their spacewalk and fitted a temporary cover over the docking port where the lost shield would have gone.

"I traveled to Russian Federation eight times in the last 1.5 year training flow, two times to Japan and one time to Cologne", she wrote in a recent blog post.

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