Peggy Whitson Iowa astronaut Peggy Whitson took a long walk this morning — a spacewalk Whitson and Russian crewmember Yuri Malenchenko are picking up where the shuttle Discovery left off.

They’re preparing a new module on the International Space Station, called Harmony, for its move to a permanent position on the orbiting outpost. The job was pushed back last week for repairs to a critical solar wing.

To break up the difficult chores during the challenging assignment, Mission Control offered the spacewalkers location cues: "You’re actually over the northern tip of Maine, you’ll go over, it looks like Nova Scotia." Whitson responds: "Oh, yeah. I can see that right there." Then, they traded quips about great golf courses in Maine.

 It was Whitson’s first spacewalk of this mission. The Beaconsfield native spent six months aboard the station in 2002. She is the first Iowa woman in space and is the station’s first woman commander.

Audio: Radio Iowa’s Matt Kelley reports. :43 MP3