Space Station astronaut loses mirror during maintenance spacewalk

Astronaut Chris Cassidy, suited up but helmetless, smiles and pumps his fist in 2013.

Astronaut Chris Cassidy in 2013.

Shamil Zhumatov/Getty Images

While performing routine maintenance on the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy accidentally added to the space junk already floating around our planet. 

As Cassidy swapped out a large battery pack weighing 428 pounds (194 kilograms) on the outside of the International Space Station, a small mirror attached to his spacesuit broke off and floated away, CNN reported Friday.

Such mirrors are attached to the wrist to help astronauts see electrical components on a spacesuit and to see into any blind spots that might occur. The mirrors measure 5 by 3 inches (7 by 12 centimeters) and weigh one-tenth of a pound (50 grams).

Aside from the mirror mishap, Cassidy and fellow NASA astronaut Robert Behnken “completed all the scheduled work on their first of four spacewalks to replace batteries that provide power for the space station’s solar arrays, as well as initial tasks originally planned for the second scheduled spacewalk next Wednesday,” NASA said in a blog post Friday.  

The two astronauts replaced the existing nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries store energy generated by the station’s solar arrays to provide power to the microgravity laboratory when the station isn’t in sunlight.

Friday’s spacewalk lasted for 6 hours and 7 minutes. Cassidy and Behnken are scheduled to do more tasks on a second spacewalk on July 1.

NASA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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