Watch These NASA Animations Previewing Its Upcoming Spacewalks
Since astronauts began building the International Space Station (ISS) in 1998, there have been more than 230 spacewalks at the orbiting outpost, most of them in US spacesuits.
Two more walks are imminent – January 27th and February 1st – and NASA has released animations of both to give space fans a preview of the work being done. Both walks are streamed live online and we will be posting details on how to view them in real time shortly.
The treks, officially known as “extravehicular activities,” are conducted by NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover, who arrived at the space station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in November 2020. The next spacewalk will be Hopkins’ third after completing two while on the ISS in 2013. Glover is on his first voyage into space, so the 44-year-old astronaut is preparing for another special one on his debut mission Experience before.
Each walk will likely take anywhere from five to eight hours as the couple work on assembling, maintaining, and upgrading the ISS.
Specifically, the January 27 spacewalk “will focus on completing the cable and antenna assembly for the Bartolomeo scientific payload platform outside of the European Space Agency’s Columbus module,” said NASA. “The duo will also be a Ka-band -Configure the terminal that enables an independent high-bandwidth communications link to European ground stations. After the Columbus module upgrades are complete, Hopkins and Glover will remove a bracket for the bracket on the truss compartment on the left connector (left) in order to prepare for future power system upgrades. ” The work is previewed in the animation below.
The second outing, on February 1, involves installing a definitive lithium-ion battery adapter plate, which will complete the battery swap work begun four years ago to improve the station’s electrical grid.
Hopkins and Glover will also replace an external camera on the starboard truss, mount a new high-resolution camera in the Destiny lab, and swap components for the Japanese robotic arm’s camera system outside of the Kibo module. Another animation below shows a preview of the tasks ahead.
As you can imagine, space walks can produce some pretty incredible images while astronauts enjoy uninterrupted views of Earth and space. Check out this collection of 30 stunning spacewalk photos captured in the years since Ed White stepped out of his Gemini 4 capsule to become America’s first spacewalker in 1965.