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Sunita Williams completes spacewalk outside ISS

Houston, Aug 31 (): NASA Flight Engineer and an Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide completed their 8 hours and 17 minutes spacewalk in the outer space doing maintenance work on the International Space Station (ISS), reported NASA.

Both aimed to replace a faulty power relay unit on the station’s truss, rig power cables for the arrival late next year of a Russian laboratory module, and install a thermal cover on a docking port.

This spacewalk will be the 163rd and 164th in support of space station assembly and maintenance. It was the second spacewalk outside the ISS of the current station’s Expedition 32.  On August 20, two Russian astronauts, Gennady Padalka and Yury Malenchenko worked outside the orbiting lab to relocate a cargo boom.

They floated outside the Pirs docking compartment airlock for a 6-1/2 hour spacewalk to relocate a cargo boom from Pirs to the Zarya module, complete the installation of micrometeoroid debris shields on the Zvezda service module and deploy a small science satellite.

Williams and Hoshide, however, failed to fulfil their task of installing a new Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) on the International Space Station’s s-zero trusses as they had difficulties driving the bolts to secure the equipment.

In 2001, US astronauts Susan Helms and James Voss made the longest spacewalk of 8 hours and 56 minutes. But, Sunita Williams holds the record of the longest space flight (195 days) for a woman in 2006. Sunita Williams, who was a flight engineer on the station’s Expedition 32 crew, became commander of Expedition 33 after reaching the space station.

NASA selected Sunita Williams as an astronaut candidate in 1998. She was selected to the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 14 and then joined Expedition 15.

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