NASA postpones today's ISS spacewalk due to debris concerns

CLEAR LAKE, Texas (KTRK) -- Overnight, NASA called off this morning's spacewalk. They believe space debris could have posed a risk to the astronauts.

The postponement comes just a few hours before the spacewalk was supposed to begin just after 6 a.m.

"NASA received a debris notification for the space station," the International Space Station said on Twitter. "Due to the lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk it could pose to the astronauts, teams have decided to delay the Nov. 30 spacewalk until more information is available."

Astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron were supposed to be replacing a faulty antenna system that had lost its ability to send signals back to Earth.

It would have been Barron's first spacewalk, Marshburn's fifth, and the ISS's 245th spacewalk in support of assembly, maintenance, and upgrades.

At a press conference at the Johnson Space Center Monday, officials mentioned that there is always debris present out in space, but the level currently present could be dangerous for the spacesuits worn by astronauts.

At the time, the threat was low, but by this morning, things had changed.

"Because the EMU is so much more vulnerable to smaller pieces, and there are so many more smaller pieces of debris, mostly contributed by micrometeoroids and naturally occurring events, the change to the EMU risk itself was much smaller. It was on the order of about seven percent," said Dana Weigel, the deputy manager of the ISS program.

An Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) is a spacesuit that provides protection to astronauts during a spacewalk.

The spacewalk was expected to take about six hours and 30 minutes to complete.

Officials have not yet announced a new time or date for the postponed spacewalk.

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