New Delhi: As two US astronauts - Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren - go on a spacewalk on Wednesday, October 28, outside the International Space Station (ISS), here are five mind-blowing facts about spacewalking.
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- A spacewalk can be defined as a period of physical activity engaged in by an astronaut in space outside a spacecraft. A spacewalk is also called an EVA. EVA stands for extravehicular activity.
- The first person to go on a spacewalk was Alexei Leonov from Russia. It took place on March 18, 1965, and was 10 minutes long.
- NASA's first spacewalks took place during the Gemini program. Ed White became the first American to go on a spacewalk on June 3, 1965, during the Gemini 4 mission, which lasted for 23 minutes.
- The first woman to perform an EVA was cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya during Soyuz T-12 on July 25, 1984.
- The world record for the most spacewalks is held by Russian astronaut Anatoly Solovyev. He has been on 16 spacewalks and spent more than 82 hours outside in space.
- Astronauts go on spacewalks for many reasons such as repairing satellites or spacecraft that are in space. Spacewalks let astronauts work outside their spacecraft while still in space. During a spacewalk, astronauts can also do science experiments.
- Astronauts wear spacesuits when they go on spacewalks in order to keep themselves safe. Inside spacesuits, astronauts have the oxygen they need to breath and the and the water they need to drink.
- A spacesuit weighs approximately 280 pounds on the ground - without the astronaut in it.
- When on a spacewalk, astronauts use safety tethers - that resemble ropes - to stay close to their spacecraft. Tethers are like ropes. Another way astronauts stay safe during spacewalks is by wearing a SAFER. SAFER stands for Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue.
- Astronauts prepare for spacewalks by practicing their tasks underwater in a large swimming pool because floating in space is a lot like floating in water. Another way astronauts practice for a spacewalk is by using virtual reality.