At approximately 12:55pm GMT today, Major Tim Peake will make history as he becomes the first Briton to walk in space.
Peake, along with NASA’s Tim Kopra, will exit the International Space Station (ISS) to do some repair work on a broken power unit on the station’s exterior.
The task should take them six-and-a-half hours, during which there will be no food or toilet breaks. After exiting, they will have to venture 50 meters to the edge of the station, which is roughly the same as an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Prior to the spacewalk, both astronauts are spending two hours breathing pure oxygen, which rids their bodies of nitrogen to help avoid decompression sickness from the rapid changes in pressure.
Peake published a blog post outlining his feelings about the mission last night, saying he is feeling “exhilarated” but will “have no time to dwell on these emotions.”
The post outlines the level of training and preparation that has gone into this mission. Both Peake and Kopra have been preparing the tools for the last few weeks on board the ISS, as well as going over the timeline for today, which is almost 40 pages long.
That’s not to mention the years of training they both did before leaving earth for the ISS last month.
Up until Peake’s selection by the European Space Agency in 2009, the British government had not funded human space flight. Today marks an important day for the country’s investment in exploration and inspiring future generations of astronauts.
Whilst on board the ISS, Major Peake is undertaking an educational mission as well. Called Principia, he will carry out a number of science experiments to be included in the curriculum of UK schools for children aged 11-19.
Update (17:31 GMT):
The spacewalk was terminated early by the lead Flight Director and both astronauts are now safely back onboard the ISS.
The cause for concern was a small amount of water and feeling of dampness in Peake’s helmet but the European Space Agency has assured that neither astronaut were in any danger and that the major tasks were completed.
Both Tims are now in the safety of the ISS and out of their space suits.
➤ Heading Outside [European Space Agency]