The spacewalks that made history
16 June 2022
Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) disburse most of their day in a relatively safe environment called an in-orbit spacecraft. However, sometimes we have to stand for hours at the height of the universe, relying only on the thin protective film of space suits and the ultra-cold vacuum. In such cases, it is called space swimming. Although space swimming was essential for constructing the space station, space swimming has become an important factor for the continuous maintenance of the space station in the Earth’s low orbit even after more than 20 years.
Although the term “spacewalk” is somewhat frivolous, it is officially called “Extravehicular Activity” (EVA). There are various reasons to do EVA, such as repairing spacecraft, installing new equipment, and developing scientific experiments. On March 18, 1965, astronaut AlexyLeonov was launched into orbit around the Earth, got off the spacecraft, and performed the first space swimming of humanity. Astronaut Leonov floated for 10 minutes and felt refreshed.
But when you get out of the ISS hatch, it’s not as good as floating in a huge training pool on Earth. In space, NASA astronaut Tracy Coldwell Dyson, who has experienced three spacewalks, told NPR that divers are not floating to ensure safety. With the ISS, the space swimmers will tear space at about 17,500 miles per hour (about 28,000 kilometers per hour). But there is no air, no wind, no sense of speed. Dyson says, “There is only one person in a white suit with you in a vacuum universe, so you tend to cling a little bit.” Pairs do most spacewalks. (One astronaut is responsible for overseeing the EVA activities and understanding the pace, safety, and completion status.)
Major Spacewalk Milestones
On March 18, 1965, Alexei Leonov, a Soviet astronaut, took a 10-minute swim on Bothhort 2, marking a three-month gap between the United States and Japan, and completed the first-ever spacewalk.
In June 1965, on the Gemini 4 task, Ed White was the first American to go spacewalk. White cherished the seconds of her 23-minute adventure. According to a report by NASA in 1997, when he returned to Gemini Capsule, he said, “I will come back… It’s the saddest moment of my life.”