Earlier this month, Scott Kelly broke the record for the most cumulative time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut with 383 days. And today, he ventures into the vacuum of space for the first time. Fellow NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren joins Kelly for the first of two planned spacewalks.
Scott Kelly preparing for his first spacewalk.
You can check out a live-stream of the six hours and 30-minute spacewalk below. I’ll also touch on what Kelly and Lindgren are doing today below the video embed.
Kelly and Lindgren are more than halfway through today’s spacewalk. Just a short time ago, Lindgren successfully placed a thermal cover over the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) outside the International Space Station (ISS). This instrument collections and analyzes billions of cosmic rays as it looks for the elusive dark matter and antimatter. The AMS has spent more than four years on the ISS and measured more than 72.8 billion cosmic rays.
Kelly’s up next with greasing several components of the nearly 58-foot long robotic arm. Lindgren will continue the work on routing power cables that are needed for a new docking port for commercial crew spacecraft. One of these new docking ports should already be on the ISS, but it was lost when SpaceX’s latest mission came to an abrupt end when the Falcon 9 rocket disintegrated.
Several new milestones incoming
There’s a lot to celebrate on the International Space Station over the next week. Tomorrow, Kelly will celebrate his 216th straight day aboard the ISS. That will set a new record for time spent continuously in space by an American astronaut. Even after Kelly’s year-long mission in space, he will fall short of the longest human space flight by several months. The current record holder is Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov. He spent 437 days aboard the Russian space station Mir in 1994 and 1995.
The International Space Station will celebrate a milestone of its own. November 2 will mark 15 years of humans continuously living aboard the space station.
Working with the best views
Venturing outside the ISS has to be nerve racking, but you can’t beat the views.