Watch NASA’s 192nd Space Walk and See the Real-Time Twist

Watch NASA walk in space in real time. Like, right this second.

January 15, 2016

More than 50 million people tuned in today to watch astronauts Tim Peake and Tim Kopra spacewalk from the International Space Station. This would be the world’s 192nd spacewalk.

The goal was to fix and replace a broken voltage unit, necessary for the safe running of the ISS. But it didn’t go exactly as planned. And the whole world got to see this, as the event was live streamed by NASA.

The first spacewalk – ever – was performed by Russian astronaut Alexei Leonov in March 1965. He managed 10 minutes. Three months later, American Ed White followed suit; his time was 23 minutes.

Today was Tim Peake’s first spacewalk, so you might think this is where the trouble occurred. You’d be wrong. The whole world saw when a small tear appeared in Kopra’s glove. And we watched breathlessly as Kopra then found water inside his helmet. NASA then aborted the mission. Protocol requires immediate termination if water is found.

Peake described it as “less than golfball-size.”

The astronauts made their way back to the station, the water was syringed out of Kopra’s suit, and they (we imagine) high-fived each other. This was clearly more dramatic than NASA planned for, but the very fact that we were seeing real-time struggles made the viewers feel more connected.

It’s unlikely most of us will ever get to space, so this is the only way we can experience it. And we love a success story.

But the big question here is: Just what does it feel like to spacewalk?

Astronaut Jeff Hoffman described his first time to The Guardian:

“When I went outside, I remember thinking to myself ‘boy, this really feels like when I was training underwater’, and then I turned over and there was the Earth and the sky and I thought “Oh. You’re not in the water tank any more.”

Real life is better than fiction. #proof

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