NASA astronauts kick off 'spacewalk bonanza' at International Space Station

NASA astronauts kick off 'spacewalk bonanza' at International Space Station

- in Science
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Leading off a series of 10 planned spacewalks that will include the first by an all-female crew, a pair of NASA astronauts ventured outside the International Space Station on Sunday to upgrade the station’s power system.

Sunday’s spacewalk began around 7:50 a.m. ET and is expected to last 6 1/2 hours. It was conducted by Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan, who are among six spaceflyers now aboard the station.

A series of planned spacewalks will continue over the next three months, marking a pace that hasn’t been seen since construction of the 925,000-pound orbiting laboratory ended in 2011.

“It’s a really busy time,” Kirk Shireman, NASA’s program manager for the space station, said Friday in a news briefing. “It’ll be exciting and fun. We’re looking forward to it.”

Megan McArthur, deputy chief of the space agency’s astronaut office, called the upcoming slate a “spacewalk bonanza,” adding that Koch and fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir would make the first all-female excursion Oct. 21.

The space agency had planned an all-female spacewalk in March, but that outing — which was to have involved Koch and NASA astronaut Anne McClain — was scrapped because there weren’t enough spacesuits of the right size available on the station.

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