British spaceman Timothy Peake joined NASA astronaut Timothy Kopra Friday morning outside the International Space Station to repair a failed voltage regulator. In doing so, Peake became the first British person to ever conduct a spacewalk.
It is the 192nd spacewalk benefitting the ISS.
The roughly six and a half hour excursion, which began at 7:48 a.m. EST, tasks the duo with swapping a voltage regulator that failed in November, causing one of the ISS’s eight power channels to lose power. According to NASA, the entire power system is comprised of an acre of solar panels which use sunlight to generate, store, and facilitate power.
Peake and Kopra have to replace the unit during what is nighttime at the ISS so that electricity doesn’t flow through the solar power system and shock them.
According to the Associated Press, when Peake made his way toward the outside of the ISS, the station’s commandeer, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly shouted, “Hey Tim, it’s really cool seeing that Union Jack [the national flag of the U.K.] go outside. It’s explored all over the world. Now it’s explored space.”
The exchange ended with Peake, Britain’s first official astronaut and a military pilot, replying, “It’s great to be wearing it, a huge privilege, a proud moment.”
Update:The spacewalk was ended earlier than planned at 12:31 p.m. EST due to what NASA reported as a small water bubble inside Kopra’s helmet. Despite the early termination of the spacewalk, Kopra and Peake were able to successfully replace the failed voltage regulator. NASA said Kopra and Peake were never in danger and the astronauts will take a water sample to eventually determine what caused the water to form inside Kopra’s helmet.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense