Tim Peake, the first British astronaut to fly as a formal representative of his country, is to undertake a spacewalk during his stint on the International Space Station.
The spacewalk will take place in just over a week’s time, and like many such missions, will see the astronaut involved carrying out repairs, a common function of such excursions. Their task will be to repair a broken solar power unit and lay cables for potential new docking ports. Peake is expected to be in open space for a total of six hours and will be accompanied by US astronaut Tim Kopra.
Speaking via his Twitter feed, Peake said he was “thrilled” at the thought of leaving the station, having trained for the spacewalks before his journey into space began, just before Christmas.
Spacewalking is otherwise known as EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity); the first person to walk in space was Alexei Leonov, a Soviet cosmonaut who undertook the feat in 1965, four years before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
Michael Foal is often credited with being the first Briton to go EVA, but he was a NASA astronaut wearing a US mission patch. Peake will be the first British astronaut to take the Union Jack into the vacuum of space. No wonder he is excited at the prospect.