Two NASA astronauts will perform a landmark 200th spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, May 12, 2017. Live coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. EDT (10:30 UTC; translate to your timezone.) Watch on NASA Television or at the agency’s website. The spacewalk sill last about 6.5 hours.
Expedition 51 commander Peggy Whitson, who already holds the U.S. record for most spacewalks by a female astronaut, will be making her ninth excursion, wearing the suit with red stripes. It will be the first-ever spacewalk for Flight Engineer Jack Fischer Whitson, who will be wearing the suit with no stripes.
Here’s what the astronauts will be doing outside the station on Friday, according to a NASA statement:
Whitson and Fischer will venture outside the Quest airlock to replace a large avionics box that supplies electricity and data connections to the science experiments, and replacement hardware stored outside the station.
The ExPRESS Carrier Avionics, or ExPCA is located on the starboard 3 truss of the station on one of the depots housing critical spare parts. It will be replaced with a unit delivered to the station last month aboard the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft.
In addition, Whitson and Fischer will install a connector that will route data to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and help the crew determine the most efficient way to conduct future maintenance on cosmic ray detector.
The first spacewalk in support of ISS assembly and maintenance was conducted on December 7, 1998, during space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-88 mission.
Bottom line: Landmark 200th International Space Station spacewalk on Friday, May 12, 2017.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.