U.S. astronauts Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron replaced a damaged antenna on the International Space Station during a spacewalk Thursday morning, a project that was delayed by NASA due to threats from orbiting space debris, the Associated Press reports.
Three weeks ago, Russia tested an anti-satellite weapons system by destroying one of its old satellites, dispersing thousands of bits of metal space junk in unplanned orbits and endangering the safety of orbiting platforms and astronauts. NASA postponed the spacewalk 24 hours to allow a patch of debris to bypass the space station. The antenna that was replaced stopped working in September, but astronauts noted the instrument had more than 20 holes in it, some recent and some older.
On his fourth spacewalk, the 61-year-old Mashburn became the oldest person to conduct a spacewalk. Both Mashburn and Barron arrived at the space station via the SpaceX launch last month, and they are scheduled for a six month mission on the ISS.