Major Tim Peake will make history today when he steps out of the International Space Station and becomes the first British astronaut to go on a spacewalk. Peake will venture out with NASA’s Colonel Tim Kopra on a carefully choreographed spacewalk to repair a broken power unit. The two will wear pressurized suits, sip water from pouches, and flex their bladders of steel during the repair mission outside the space station, which is scheduled to last for six and a half hours with no bathroom breaks.
The spacewalk—called an Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA)—will have two periods of daylight for 45 minutes each, as the ISS passes the sun on its way around the Earth. For the remainder of the time outside the space station, the two astronauts will be shrouded in darkness. Kopra will lead the EVA and Peake will follow shortly with replacement equipment to repair the faulty power unit.
Peake arrived on the space station last month, and preparations for this EVA began shortly after. The power unit the astronauts aim to repair has been out of commission for some time, but isn’t a huge detriment to the space station’s operations. The ISS generates more electricity than it needs from the solar panels currently in use, but the power unit is expected to be returned to normal operation. During the second half of the six-plus hour EVA, the two astronauts will also lay cable for new docking ports and reinstall a valve that was removed last year, all while tethered to the space station for safety.
With this EVA, Peake becomes the first Briton to walk in space. He is also the first Briton aboard the ISS, where he is assigned to live until May 2016. The European Space Agency also reports Peake is the first fully British professional astronaut employed by a space agency, since those who came before him either had U.S. or dual citizenship, or were on privately-funded trips.
NASA broadcasts spacewalks and other space station events live on its website.
Via The Independent