A Visual History of Spacewalks
„Fifty years ago, on June 3, 1965, Ed White performed America’s first spacewalk—giving the country a much-needed space boost and a well-loved space hero. The half-century of extravehicular activity (EVA) that has followed is the legacy of White and the other early pioneers. Here is a look at some of the high points.
March 18, 1965: Alexei Leonov Completes First Spacewalk From Voskhod 2
The first human being to walk in space, the Soviet Union’s Alexei Leonov, floated from his Voskhod-2 spacecraft on the morning of March 18, 1965 and spent just 12 minutes afloat. They were, as it turned out, 12 miserable minutes. His body temperature soared from the exertion, pushing him dangerously close to heatstroke. His spacesuit expanded so much in the vacuum it became difficult to move or even re-enter the hatch. The one sound Leonov recalls most from the experience was his own labored breathing. But a spacewalk—or extravehicular activity (EVA)—had been achieved.
June 3, 1965: Edward White Makes American Spacewalk
Americans were runners-up in the race to walk in space, with Gemini IV’s Ed White performing his EVA more than 10 weeks after Leonov’s. But unlike Leonov, White loved every second of his 23-minute adventure. “I feel like a million dollars,” he exclaimed as he maneuvered around with the aid of a hand-held zip gun. The gun ran out of fuel before the walk ended and one of White’s extra gloves can be seen in the footage floating out of the open cockpit door. Still, when told to come inside he responded, “It’s the saddest moment of my life.”
June 5, 1966: Eugene Cernan’s Un-Excellent Adventure
After Ed White’s grand time on Gemini 4, NASA expected Gene Cernan’s more-ambitious spacewalk on Gemini 9 to be a pleasure. It wasn’t. A maneuvering backpack was stashed in a storage area in the rear, outdoor portion of the spacecraft, but without any handholds on the ship to help him maneuver, Cernan mostly spun and snapped at the end of his tether. His heart rate soared to 155 beats per minute, his visor fogged up so badly he couldn’t see, and he had an even harder time than Alexei Leonov had re-entering his ship—describing it as akin to trying to put a champagne cork back in a bottle. EVAs, the space agency was learning, were far harder than they seemed. (…)
Author: Jeffrey Kluger – See full article on time.com