Expedition 50 Flight Engineer and astronaut Peggy Whitson is geared up to break the spacewalk record after she goes on her eighth spacewalk. This was Whitson's eighth spacewalk.
Whitson had previously been tied for the record with NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, at seven spacewalks each.
SpaceX and Boeing are now designing crew vehicles that will begin flying people to the ISS as early as next year.
The goal of the spacewalk was to continue upgrading the International Space Station for the arrival of commercial spaceships in the years to come.
The pair installed three other debris shields during their spacewalk and fitted a temporary cover over the docking port where the lost shield would have gone. During the spacewalk, one of the shields was inadvertently lost. Cameras tracked the shielding as it drifted into the distance, and Mission Control said there was no danger the lost shield could hit and damage the space station. Whitson along with Kimbrough finish cable connections at the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 just recently attached to the Harmony module's space-facing port. The plan worked, and the cover was successfully installed, providing thermal protection and micrometeoroid and orbital debris cover for the port. NASA is live streaming the six-and-a-half hour spacewalk online and you can Watch it HERE.
NASA, which began livestreaming the spacewalk Thursday morning, said the spacewalk was the 199th to update and maintain the orbiting research laboratory, which has been in space since its first part was launched in 1998.
The space blanket was one of four covers created to guard the station from micrometeoroids, and also for thermal protection. Then they turned to the shields, and that's when one of the folded coverings got away. During that spacewalk, she hooked up new lithium-ion batteries and checked the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. The 57-year-old biochemistry researcher, former NASA Chief Astronaut, and first female Space Station Commander has been in orbit since November on her third space station stint. But the getaway items are usually small, like bolts. That's the most spacewalks ever performed by a woman.
In the meantime, Kimbrough, Soyuz MS-02 commander Sergey Ryzhikov and flight engineer Andrey Borisenko are scheduled to return to Earth on April 10, landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan to close out a 173-day mission.