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Mar 31, 2017 10:34 AM EDT

NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson Breaks Female Spacewalking Record [VIDEO]

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On Thursday, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson was set to break the spacewalking record set by Sunita Williams. It's the eight spacewalk for Whitson aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Williams has had seven spacewalks and previously held the record for most spacewalk by a woman and most spacewalk time for a woman. She had a total time of 50 hours and 40 minutes.

Whitson, an Expedition 50 Flight Engineer, had her latest spacewalk on January 6 with Commander Shane Kimbrough. It was during their inspection of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer when she hooked up new lithium-ion batteries.

Whitson and Kimbrough's mission was to finish the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) cable connections that were just recently attached to the Harmony module's space-facing port. The PMA-3's relocation is to prepare the ISS for the new International Docking Adapter-3 set to be delivered on a future SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.

Thomas Pesquet, a European Space Agency astronaut conducted last week's Friday spacewalk with Kimbrough, where they disconnected cables and electrical connections on the PMA-3. It was relocated with the space station's robotic arm two day later.

He assisted Whitson and Kimbrough in and out of their spacesuits and monitored the activities inside the station according to The Business-Standard.

With the PMA-3 in place, Whitson finished installation and reconnecting the cables. She removed and stowed PMA-3s thermal cover to make room for the new International Docking Adapter, which is scheduled to arrive by 2018.

After Kimbrough installed the new external computer, she met with Whitson to retrieve two pairs of axial shields that they lugged over to Node 3 where the PMA-3 was previously located. Before they could strap down the shields, one slipped away and drifted out of reach. Thankfully, NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston came up with a solution on the spot.

According to Space, the pair set out at 7:29 a.m. EDT and spent 7 hours and 4 minutes working outside the ISS. During 4 hours and 23 minutes into the mission, Whitson broke the record for spacewalking time by a woman astronaut with a total of 53 hours and 22 minutes.

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