Equipment water leak stalls spacewalk by 2 US astronauts

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is seen during a Jan. 6 2017 spacewalk during Expedition 50 aboard the International Space Station. 	Credits NASA

Jack Fischer received a degree in astronautical engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1996 and was one of two astronauts to conduct the 200th spacewalk for the ISS.

The 1 spacewalk in support of construction, maintenance or fix of the space station happened in 1998, when the NASA still used space shuttles and the space station itself was like a tiny, New York City apartment compared to the expansive space mansion that it is today.

The spacewalk officially began at 9:08 a.m. EDT.

Station commander Peggy Whitson and rookie flier Jack Fischer began what was expected to be a 6-1/2-hour spacewalk more than an hour late, after a cable supplying power and cooling water to Fischer's spacesuit developed a leak.

It was Fischer's first spacewalk, and the ninth for Whitson, who last month broke the record for cumulative time in orbit by a USA astronaut. The astronauts ended up sharing Whitson's hose while they waited, which reduced their suit battery power.

The spacewalk is the ninth of Whitson's career.

NASA is providing live coverage of the spacewalk over at NASA TV.

It was discovered as the astronauts were seated in the airlock inside the space station.

Whitson and Fischer are not expected to have time to complete other tasks planned for Friday's spacewalk, which included the installation of a data connector for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle detector and cosmic physics experiment outside the station. During NASA's first-ever spacewalk in 1965, astronaut Ed White ventured out of the Gemini IV spacecraft, propelling himself with a hand-held oxygen jet-tank.

"This was not a leak in Fischer's suit", NASA said.

According to NASA procedures, the spacewalk can go ahead with just one functioning SCU.

The EVA started over the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii and lasted 23 minutes, ending over the Gulf of Mexico.

Today, the $100 billion orbiting lab is about the size of a football field, and a symbol of global cooperation among the 15 nations that have helped build and operate it.

Spacewalks usually last about six-and-a-half hours, but today's was "abbreviated" due to the late start and lasted four hours and 13 minutes, Navias said.

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