Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques completes his 1st spacewalk
Saint-Jacques, American Anne McClain work on upgrading ISS power system
Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques has completed his first ever spacewalk.
Saint-Jacques and NASA astronaut Anne McClain accomplished the feat in six hours, 29 minutes, with no apparent issues.
Saint-Jacques, 49, joins an exclusive group of astronauts by becoming just the fourth Canadian to complete such a mission and the first from the country to do so since 2007.
He and McClain officially began their spacewalk shortly after 7:30 a.m. ET according to the U.S. space agency — about half-an-hour ahead of schedule.
Their tasks included relocating a battery adaptor plate, upgrading the station's wireless communication system and connecting jumper cables along the midpoint of the station's main truss to give Canadarm2 an alternative power source.
Saint-Jacques arrived at the space station with McClain and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos on Dec. 3. He is scheduled to return to Earth in June.
Want to learn more about what the astronauts hope to achieve? Watch NASA's technical briefing.
Last week, flight controllers used the space station's robot arm to remove the failed battery along with an associated charging device. Working remotely, the controllers also installed a spare charging device and one of the old batteries made of nickel hydrogen. The second outdated battery will go in — robotically — later this week.
NASA said it will send up another new battery, although it's uncertain when. Until then, this combination of old and new batteries is expected to work fine, according to managers.
Their six-month mission began in December. The next spacewalk will be next month by the two Russians on board. Two other Americans round out the six-person crew.
McClain was supposed to take part in a spacewalk in late March alongside Christina Koch, but the first-ever all female spacewalk was scuttled because of concern around the safety of the spacesuits available to the astronauts.
This decision was based on my recommendation. Leaders must make tough calls, and I am fortunate to work with a team who trusts my judgement. We must never accept a risk that can instead be mitigated. Safety of the crew and execution of the mission come first. <a href="https://t.co/VU9QNaHHlK">https://t.co/VU9QNaHHlK</a>—@AstroAnnimal
Instead, Koch went out with colleague Nick Hague. The pair successfully installed new lithium ion batteries and completed tasks aimed at improving power supply.
Saint-Jacques — a doctor, engineer and astrophysicist — is the first Canadian Space Agency astronaut to travel to space since Chris Hadfield in 2013.
With files from CBC News and The Canadian Press