Tim Peake is carrying out the first ever spacewalk by an “official” British astronaut. Major Peake stepped outside the International Space Station’s Quest airlock just after 13:00 GMT, BBC reported
He and Nasa astronaut Tim Kopra are scheduled to spend six-and-a-half hours on the exterior of the orbiting outpost. Michael Foale became the first Briton to carry out a spacewalk in 1995. He flew under a US banner with Nasa.
Major Peake and Colonel Kopra have now completed the primary goal of the spacewalk: replacing a faulty component on the station’s exterior, which has compromised a power channel on the outpost. The failed electrical box regulates power from the solar panels.
“I think a spacewalk is absolutely the pinnacle of an astronaut’s career,” Major Peake told BBC Stargazing Live this week.
The European Space Agency (Esa) astronaut added: “We’ve put a huge amount of effort into this spacewalk. It’s hugely exciting and we’re ready to go.”
In a Blog on Huffington Post, Major Peake said: In the past few weeks we have been preparing our tools and going over the EVA timeline that is almost 40 pages long. Reid Wiseman will be talking to us and guiding us from mission control – all operations in space rely on tremendous support from the dedicated international ground operations team. Reid has two spacewalks under his belt and his second EVA was similar to ours in that he swapped a Sequential Shunt Unit (SSU) – we cannot think of a better colleague to talk to on the space-to-ground voice loop.
“Our tools and spacesuits are ready, with all of our tools either clipped onto our spacesuit’s ‘Mini Work-Station’ or stowed inside tool bags in the order we need them. In previous EVAs the bolt that keeps the SSU didn’t always turn smoothly and NASA thinks this might be because the thread gets blocked with debris. In true The Martianstyle we fabricated a makeshift tool out of a toothbrush to clean the pinion thread if necessary.”