Equipment water leak shortens spacewalk by 2 US astronauts

Equipment water leak shortens spacewalk by 2 US astronauts

An equipment water leak has stalled a spacewalk by two US astronauts at the International Space Station on Friday.

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Jack Fischer will leave the airlock to replace a large avionics box responsible for supplying electricity, data connections and replacement hardware outside of the space station. The hose provides water, power, cooling and communications for astronauts before they float outside.

Mission Control said Fischer's suit is fine.

The spacewalk will be broadcast on NASA Television and streamed live online.

The problem cropped up during preparations for Friday's planned spacewalk.

The astronauts' key task during Friday's spacewalk is to replace what is known as an express carrier avionic box.

This will be the 200th spacewalk for the construction and maintenance of the orbiting outpost.

The spacewalk is the ninth of Whitson's career.

This is far from Whitson's first (space) rodeo, as she now holds the record for most spacewalks performed by an American woman, but it's Fischer's first time.

NASA's bulky white spacesuits are aging, and the same models have been in use for four decades.

The first spacewalk ever conducted at the station was on December 7, 1998.

The station orbits the Earth at a height of about 250 miles (400 kilometers), circling the planet every 90 minutes at a speed of about 17,500 miles (28,000 kilometers) per hour.