On Thursday, NASA announced she had set yet another record during her third tour of duty on the International Space Station - taking the most spacewalks by a female astronaut. Whitson, the world's oldest and most experienced spacewoman has just set another record, her eighth spacewalk.
Nasa is gearing up for an intense few weeks of work aboard the International Space Station, staging three spacewalks, moving a docking port from one module to another to support commercial crew ferry ships and capturing an Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ship carrying almost 4 tons of equipment and supplies.
Kimbrough and Whitson will also install a new computer relay box on the station's truss and place micrometeoroid and orbital debris shielding on PMA-3 and the now-vacant berthing mechanism where the adapter previously resided on Tranquility, according to NASA.
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Kimbrough serves as commander of the station and is responsible for its crew of six.
"You guys be safe and enjoy your time out", French astronaut Thomas Pesquet radioed from inside the space station. A new docking adapter will be installed on PMA-3 next year to make it compatible with spaceships in development by Boeing and SpaceX to ferry crews to and from the space station.
Midway through Thursday's spacewalk, Whitson will surpass the current record for women of 50 hours and 40 minutes of total accumulated spacewalking time, held by former space station resident Sunita Williams.
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The 57-year-old Whitson has been in orbit since November. Altogether, she's spent more than 500 days off the planet, also more than any other woman.
As it now stands, Whitson, Pesquet and Novitskiy plan to return to Earth June 2. A decision is expected soon. NASA TV will cover all the spacewalk activities beginning at 6:30 a.m.
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