Today was a historic day for British astronaut Tim Peake who was the first astronaut officially representing his country to walk in space known as a spacewalker, however the planned six hours was cut short as American astronaut Tim Kopra reported water in his helmet.
Historic spacewalker cut short
While Former British astronaut Michael Foale was the first Brit to walk in space, he had dual American citizenship and did so as a NASA astronaut. Peake, however, is representing Britain as an astronaut under the authority of the European Space Agency.
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The mission before it was called early:
Peake along with NASA astronaut Tim Kopra were tasked with repairing a broken power unit outside the International Space Station. The inherent danger of a spacewalk, dictates that they are not done without a purpose and prosperity and history do not count as a reason to go into space. While no astronaut has ever perished during a spacewalk, it is at the end of the day, walking in space.
The spacewalk, or in astronaut jargon, is called Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) and was mean to last for six-and-a-half hours. During the planned EVA, the two should have only had daylight to guide them for two 45 minute windows, the rest of the walk would have been completed in total darkness.
The two charged with the mission have been practicing since Peake arrived in December though each of them also practiced the mission while on Earth. Prior to leaving the station on a tether at all times, the two were breathing pure oxygen for a couple of hours before going outside the ISS.
Peake was the second to leave the ISS today. Colonel Kopra headed to the solar units they needed to repair. Once there, Peake followed with the replacement equipment.
What cut the spacewalker short?
Kopra arrived at the solar units about 200 feet from where he disembarked the ISS and radioed to Peake to join him. The two began work on replacing the voltage regulator, known as an SSU while the ISS was in the Earth’s shadow with Peake tasked to bring the malfunctioning part back to the ISS.
About two hours after the successful repair was made Kopra reported a minute amount of water in his helmet. With the primary task of their walk completed, NASA determined that it would be best for the astronauts to abort the remainder of their mission. The two spent the necessary time in the airlock and are presently back about the ISS.
Job done and history made.