Posted by: Pradeep | September 28, 2008

Space Walk

It is more than 3 decades now when supposedly human beings stepped out in to the space for the first time. Albeit it is controversial whether US astronauts really touched upon Moon and had Moon walk; space walk has been reported many times now. Chinese have been the latest to join the big club with recent sucess of putting astronauts in space.

Space walking needs certains basics in place like

  • During space walks, astronauts wear adult nappies described by Nasa as ‘maximum absorbency garments’. 
  • A backpack propulsion unit, incorporating small nitrogen thrusters controlled by hand and moderated by computer, is worn to allow astronauts to return if they become separated from the space station. Otherwise they might keep drifting forever. 
  • Apart from floating away, the biggest danger during space walks is collision with the growing volume of space debris floating in orbit from earlier missions. 
  • Astronauts who perform space walks risk suffering from ‘the bends’ because of the lower air pressure in their space suits. To help adjust more slowly, many ‘camp out’ the night before in an airlock on the spacecraft, where the pressure is gradually reduced. 

The first human to walk in space was Russian Alexy Leonov on March 18, 1965. His outing lasted only 24 minutes. Since then the feat has been repeated almost 300 times. 

Ed White was the first American to walk in space on June 3, 1965. The first untethered space walk was by American Bruce McCandless on February 7, 1984. 

The first woman to perform a space walk was Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, on July 25 , 1984. 

The first black astronaut to perform a space walk was Texan Bernard Harris Jnr, on February 9, 1995.

The longest excursion was eight hours and 56 minutes, performed by the American astronaut Susan Helms on March 11, 2001.

Cudos to Chinese to break into the club. I am watching out for India now.


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