David Saint-Jacques becomes the fourth Canadian astronaut to carry out a spacewalk and the first in 12 years as he boarded on a seven-hour mission and thus joined the select company on Monday.
According to the U.S. space agency, Saint-Jacques and NASA astronaut Anne McClain officially adventured in their spacewalk when they switched to battery power, detaching from the International Space Station little after 7.30 a.m EDT. They carried out the mission with no apparent problems, in six hours and 29 minutes.
The Canadian astronaut and his colleague Anne McClain from NASA performed a spacewalk a couple of days ago
The two astronauts appeared approximately 30 minutes earlier, and David Saint-Jacques executed a few short movements to adjust his suit to be comfortable before promptly getting into motion.
Besides relocating a battery adaptor place, the team’s assignment was to upgrade the station’s wireless communication system and to give Canadarm2 another power source by attaching jumper cables along the axis of the station’s central truss.
Canadarm2 is a robotic hand that is vital to the management of the space station. In case of an outage, the jumper cables would grant the arm permission to make repairs with no need of a spacewalk.
A retired astronaut named Dave Williams said at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters that the mission was a busy one, having four major tasks to complete. He said that the astronauts David and Anne were going to have to be all over the space station. He also encouraged Saint-Jacques over the weekend saying that he believes that the Canadian astronaut would draw a perfect tour.
The astronauts were able to enjoy some astonishing views of Earth as they derived into relative darkness and the sun came out eventually.
Only three other Canadian astronauts performed spacewalks before David Saint-Jacques
Dave Williams, with three for a total of just 18 hours outside the space amid a 2007 spacewalk, holds the Canadian records for the most spacewalks. Until Saint-Jacques, Williams was the last Canadian astronaut to take part and complete a spacewalk.
Steve MacLean and Chris Hadfield, also the first Canadian spacewalker, are the other two astronauts to have completed the mission; MacLean in 2006, and Hadfield in 2001.
As Saint-Jacques performed the tedious list of assignments, the Canadian Space Agency robotics flight controllers provided support to the astronauts from its mission control located in Huston.
How are spacewalks for the astronauts performing them?
Dave Williams, the fellow astronaut, shared that it might seem that the walk-in spacewalks are slow and so it is, he said. There is nothing to balance you in space, so you have to stroll to maintain control, Williams said. Because every movement was visible through his helmet camera, Saint-Jacques gave the viewers who watched the online live recording a chance to see through his perspective.
Williams praised Saint-Jacques saying that his movements were gracious in using fingertips to move from a place to another and that he was doing a great job. Williams also stated that this technique is a mark of an experienced spacewalker, although Saint-Jacques has been on the space station for less than an hour at that time.
Saint-Jacques along with McClain and Roscosmos Russian space agency’s astronaut Oleg Kononenko arrived safely at the space station on December 3rd. Saint-Jacques is expected to return home to Earth in June.