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article imageOne small step for man, one giant leap for womankind

By Aaron Robson     Feb 6, 2007 in Technology
U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams has now spent more time in space than any other woman, setting the record on Sunday as she and a crew mate upgraded the international space station's cooling system.
Williams had broke the previous female spacewalking record of more than 21 hours when she and Michael Lopez-Alegria completed the second of three spacewalks in nine days.
The new record set by Williams 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.
A tiny bit of ammonia also leaked during Lopez-Alegria's and Williams' first spacewalk Wednesday. Mission Control ordered them to take precautions since ammonia could cause respiratory problems for the three-person crew if enough of it got into the space station.
Lopez-Alegria and Williams hooked up the permanent cooling system, covered an obsolete radiator that was retracted by remote control from the ground and stowed a fluid line that was connected to an ammonia reservoir.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: removing a sun shade, photographing a solar array that will be retracted during space shuttle Atlantis' mission next month and making electrical connections for a new system that will allow power from the station to be shared with a docked shuttle. 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.
Lopez-Alegria planned to conduct a fourth spacewalk with Russian flight engineer Mikhail Tyurin on February 22.
After Sunday's spacewalk, Lopez-Alegria moved up to third on the list of the most time spacewalking.
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