Astronaut David Saint-Jacques to be first Canadian to perform spacewalk in 12 years

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques will become the first Canadian spacewalker in 12 years when he embarks on a roughly seven-hour mission planned for today.

Canadian Space Agency robotics flight controllers will provide support to the Canadian astronaut while he performs his mission with NASA astronaut Anne McClain.

Saint-Jacques' spacewalk comes on his first posting to the International Space Station.

It is scheduled to begin just after 8 a.m. EDT. It involves several tasks, including relocating a battery adaptor plate, upgrading the station's wireless communication system and connecting jumper cables along the midpoint of the station's main truss to give Canadarm2 an alternative power source.

Canadarm 2 is a sort of robotic hand that is crucial to maintaining the space station, and the cables would allow the arm to make repairs in case of an outage without requiring a spacewalk.

The Canadian record for the most spacewalks is held by retired astronaut Dave Williams, who ventured outside the space station three times during a 2007 mission for a total of nearly 18 hours.