Record broken for female spacewalking

From the Associated Press

U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams has now spent more time in space than any other woman, setting the record Sunday as she and a crewmate upgraded the International Space Station's cooling system.

Williams broke the previous record of more than 21 hours when she and Michael Lopez-Alegria completed the second of what could be a precedent-setting three spacewalks in nine days. The new spacewalking record for a woman is 22 hours and 27 minutes.

During the spacewalk, which lasted more than seven hours, small amounts of toxic ammonia leaked from a fluid line.

The liquid ammonia, which freezes into flakes when it hits the vacuum of space, did not appear to touch either astronaut. Mission Control told them to continue their task of hooking up ammonia fluid lines from a temporary cooling system to a permanent one.

Once they were back in the space station's airlock, Mission Control told the astronauts to test for contamination. The test was negative.

Lopez-Alegria and Williams hooked up the permanent cooling system, covered an obsolete radiator that was retracted by remote control from the ground, and stowed a fluid line that was connected to an ammonia reservoir.

They then moved on to other jobs, ahead of schedule.

The third spacewalk is set for Thursday, marking the first time three spacewalks will have been conducted in such a short period at the space station without a shuttle docked to it.

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