Washington, March 31: Age is just the number, someone well said as an Astronaut Peggy Whitson proved it right by becoming eldest woman to spacewalk. After Sunita Williams, a 57-year old Peggy Whitson breaks the record to become the next woman to carry an experienced spacewalk.
Also, Peggy Whitson also holds the record for the longest time spent in space by a woman. The astronaut has been on board the International Space Station (ISS) since November. This is Whitson's third time on board the ISS and on Thursday it was the eighth time she's ventured out to conduct repairs on the station.
This time along with her spacewalking partner, mission commander Shane Kimbrough, were tasked with a pretty crucial upgrade they reconnected the 'parking dock' of the ISS, known as the pressurised mating adapter-3 (PMA-3). During Thursday's spacewalk, the astronauts faced their own crisis when a thermal protection shield fell off the ISS and was lost to space. Whitson and Kimbrough were reinstalling the shields to cover the space where the PMA-3 was previously located, but although three shields made it back onto the ISS successfully, one fell off during attachment and is now orbiting the Earth as space junk. Whitson and Kimbrough are now safely back on board the International Space Station as part of expedition 50.
Risking their life not only are the astronauts are out there for hours with no access to a bathroom, they're also at risk of floating off into space if their tether fails.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has famously spoken out about becoming temporarily blinded during a spacewalk when the mixture of oil and soap solution that astronauts use to keep their visors fog-free got in his left eye. He started to tear up due to the pain, but because there was no gravity, this just spread the solution to his other eye.
"Now I was completely blind outside of the spaceship," he said. Thankfully, astronauts are trained to stay calm in these situations, and Hadfield managed to get back to the ISS safely. Thankfully, there was no immediate danger to either astronaut or the rest of the crew. The duo improvised and covered the port with the PMA-3 cover that had been removed earlier that day.