NASA’s yearlong spaceman, Scott Kelly, is taking his first spacewalk just hours before setting a new U.S. flight record. (Oct. 28)
AP

MELBOURNE, Fla. — Two NASA astronauts on the International Space Station began their first spacewalk Wednesday to begin to tackle a long to-do list.

Scott Kelly, who holds the record for most consecutive days in space by a U.S. astronaut (214 as of Wednesday), and Kjell Lindgren, a first-time flyer, are performing maintenance on the space station.

During the six-and-a-half hour excursion, they are lubing one end of the station’s robotic arm, routing cables to a docking port and placing a protective cover over the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle physics experiment that was delivered to the station by a 2011 shuttle mission led by Kelly’s twin brother, Mark Kelly. Scientists want the device covered with a thermal blanket to keep it cooler and prolong its life.

NASA TV is streaming the spacewalk.

Kelly, known as “EV-1” for this round of “extra-vehicular activity,” is wearing a spacesuit with red stripes, and is showing No. 18 on his helmet camera.

Lindgren is “EV-2;” his all-white suit has no stripes and his helmet camera is No. 17.

Tracy Caldwell Dyson, a veteran of three spacewalks, is the astronaut communicating with the spacewalkers from the ground in Houston.

The spacewalk was held up slightly after Lindgren inadvertently switched on the water flow in his suit too soon. Mission Control wanted to make sure the suit was safe, before giving the all-clear. Water is needed to cool the suit; a malfunction two years ago caused a spacewalker’s helmet to flood and almost drowned him.

The spacewalk is the 189th supporting International Space Station maintenance and assembly. The duo is expected to perform a second spacewalk together Nov. 6.

Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow James Dean on Twitter: @flatoday_jdean

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