David Saint-Jacques becomes fourth Canadian astronaut to complete spacewalk — NewsAlert


David Saint Jacques and Anne Mc Clain pose with the spacesuits they will wear on their Monday spacewalk. Credit NASA

The change to her visor was noticeable in the last 15 minutes of the spacewalk, she noted.

For the next 6.5 hours, the two spacewalkers will perform upgrades to the station.

The Canadian record for the most spacewalks is held by retired astronaut Dave Williams, who ventured outside the space station three times during a 2007 mission for a total of almost 18 hours.

Williams was also the last Canadian until Saint-Jacques to have performed a spacewalk.

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McClain and Saint-Jacques will lay out jumper cables between the Unity module and the S0 truss, at the midpoint of the station's backbone, during their April 8 spacewalk.

Canadarm2 is a sort of robotic hand that is crucial to maintaining the space station, and the new cables allow the arm to make repairs in case of an outage without requiring a spacewalk.

Williams, who spoke to Saint-Jacques on Saturday, said his countryman was very excited about the mission and proud to wear the Canadian flag, but laser-focused on the tasks ahead.

It's the third spacewalk in just 2 ½ weeks for the station crew.

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Canadian Space Agency robotics flight controllers will provide support to the astronauts from mission control in Houston.

"The primary objective is always to do science, but there's a lot of work going on there just to maintain the operations of the space station", Podwalski said. The pair successfully installed new lithium ion batteries and completed tasks aimed at improving power supply.

Saint-Jacques' movements were visible through a helmet camera, giving viewers watching live online the astronaut's perspective. "David's doing an incredible job, moving very gracefully, using just fingertip forces to go from one place to another on the space station", Williams said earlier Monday.

It is scheduled to begin just after 8 a.m. EDT.

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The walk, which NASA says is part of a broader project to improve the power system for the International Space Station, is expected to take 6½ hours.

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