An astronaut successfully completes a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station on Friday. Despite having a bad jetpack and a frayed tether, astronaut Joe Acaba still managed to replace a 'blurry camera' outside of the space station.
Seven-Hour Spacewalk: A Bad Jetpack And A Frayed Tether
Astronauts Joe Acaba and Randy Bresnik embarked on a seven-hour spacewalk mission that took place on Oct. 20 outside of the International Space Station (ISS).
According to NASA, just shortly after the astronauts both floated outside the space station, Mission Control noticed Acaba's safety tether was "frayed and worn", so station commander Bresnik had to go back in to get an extra.
After 5 hours, it was noticed that the right handle of Acaba's jetpack was "popped open", so Bresnik once again went to assist his partner. However, after sometime, Acaba's jetpack was declared "unreliable" and he was ordered to return back inside the space station.
In the end, both astronauts still managed to replace a "blurry camera", install a robotic hand and finish greasing the arm, with only a couple of minor tasks left undone, according to NASA.
Third Spacewalk In Two Weeks
The recent spacewalk mission was the third in two weeks, with station commander Bresnik coming out on all three. During the first and second spacewalks, Bresnik went out with astronaut Mark Vande Hei to install the new robotic hand on the space station.
Acaba Replaces 'Blurry Camera'
Acaba replaced the camera from the robotic hand to provide Houston with clearer views. The camera focus is very important because it allows the robotic hand to grab supply ships and anchor them. According to NASA, the next supply ship, Orbital ATK, is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Nov. 11.
Spacewalks: Safety And Emergency
Jetpacks and safety tethers are essential for saving an astronaut's life during an extravehicular activity (EVA) or spacewalk. Astronauts and cosmonauts are always securely attached to their spacecraft with a safety tether, and they always have more than one tether in case one accidentally breaks.
However, in case of an emergency when all tethers break and fail, spacewalkers are equipped with jetpacks in order to fly back to the space station.
The first-ever spacewalk, which lasted for only 12 minutes, was performed by Soviet cosmonaut Alexey Leonov on Mar. 18, 1965, outside of the Voskhod 2 spacecraft. The term, EVA, was invented by NASA in the 1960's for the Apollo program.