What is it like to go on a space­walk?

All About Space - - Ask Space - Dr Scott Parazyn­ski is a for­mer NASA as­tro­naut and physi­cian

Out­side on a ‘space­walk’, we’re ac­tu­ally crawl­ing hand over hand us­ing handrails on the out­side of the Space Shut­tle, space sta­tion or the Hub­ble Space Tele­scope or what­ever we hap­pen to be work­ing on. We’re ac­tu­ally not truly walk­ing, but it is an in­cred­i­ble hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence. I think it is the great­est job in the uni­verse to be out­side in your own per­sonal ‘space­ship’ with just a thin vi­sor be­tween you and the enor­mity of the uni­verse.

You have to have on your body ev­ery­thing that a Space Shut­tle has in terms of sys­tems to sus­tain you there. You need oxy­gen de­liv­ery, car­bon diox­ide re­moval, tem­per­a­ture con­trol and pro­tec­tion from the vac­uum of space. You need ra­dios, TV cam­eras, bat­tery power, cool­ing and light­ing; you need a com­puter to see what is go­ing on with your space­suit and tools on the front of your suit. You are phys­i­cally in your own per­sonal space­ship. There’s even a lit­tle jet back­pack on your back that will en­able you to fly your­self to safety if you were to float free from the space sta­tion. I re­ally think it is a dream to get a chance to go out­side on a space­walk.

Right: Parazyn­ski has com­pleted over 47 hours of space­walk­ing

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