article image

Astronaut reaches for the Sun in amazing spacewalk photo

Charles Black, Founder and CEO of Sen
Sep 7, 2012, 7:00 UTC

Sen—NASA released this stunning photograph of Sunita Williams during her spacewalk on September 5 when she and Aki Hoshide completed installation of a Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) which relays power from the station's solar panels to systems onboard.

Fellow spacewalker, JAXA flight engineer Aki Hoshide, can been seen reflected in Williams' helmet visor.

This was the second spacewalk in a matter of days for the two astronauts whose mission to replace the MBSU on August 30 was hampered by damaged bolt thread and possible misalignment. The astronauts had to down tools and assess what had gone wrong. Their solution included making an improvised cleaning tool from a toothbrush.

The September 5 spacewalk lasted 6 hours and 28 minutes during which they succeeded in installing the new unit. They also installed a camera on the station's robotic arm, Canadarm2. 

Inside the space station NASA flight engineer Joe Acaba operated the Canadarm2 and monitored the spacewalk.

This was Hoshide's second spacewalk and Williams' sixth. The NASA astronaut has now spent 44 hours and 2 minutes spacewalking, a record for a female astronaut.

The additional spacewalk delayed the planned departure of Japan's Kounotori H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV). The cargo ship is now scheduled to leave the space station on September 12.

The Expedition 32 crew consists of three Russian cosmonauts - commander Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin and Yuri Malenchenko, JAXA astronaut Aki Hoshide and NASA flight engineers Joe Acaba and Sunita Williams.