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Sunita Williams takes fifth spacewalk

Last Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 - 14:09

Washington: Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams, who holds the record of the longest space flight (195 days) for a woman, has completed her fifth spacewalk lasting a near record eight hours and 17 minutes.

Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide set out from the international space station at 5:46 p.m. Thursday (India time) and returned at 2:03 a.m. Friday, the US space agency NASA announced.

The longest spacewalk of 8 hours and 56 minutes was undertaken by US astronauts Susan Helms and James Voss in 2001.

However, Williams and Hoshide failed to replace a power distributor after removing and stowing a failed unit due to difficulties in driving the bolts to secure the replacement switching, officials said.

Williams and Hoshide used a long-duration tie-down tether to secure the replacement distributor to the space station for a future spacewalk.

Earlier, Williams was able to successfully connect one of two power cables in preparation for the future arrival of a Russian laboratory module. But the third objective, replacing a camera on the Canadarm2 robotic arm, was not completed.

Thursday`s spacewalk was the fifth for Williams and the first for Hoshide. Hoshide is the third Japanese astronaut in history to conduct a spacewalk. The duo arrived at the station July 16 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Daughter of an Indian American father from Gujarat and a Slovenian mother, Williams holds three records for female space travellers: longest spaceflight (195 days), number of spacewalks (five), and total time spent on spacewalks (29 hours and 17 minutes) during her first space journey in 2006.

She is the second woman of Indian heritage to have been selected by NASA for a space mission after Kalpana Chawla and the second astronaut of Slovenian heritage after Ronald M. Sega.


First Published: Friday, August 31, 2012 - 14:09

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