His first spacewalk ever: Space station astronaut suits up

Everyone has to make time for a little home maintenance now and then, even when your home is orbiting 260 miles above the Earth.

So bright and early Tuesday morning, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy suited up for a six-hour-and-seven-minute spacewalk outside the International Space Station to knock a bunch of “to-dos” off their list.

Tuesday’s spacewalk was the fifth spacewalk of Cassidy’s career, but the first for Parmitano, and the first for an Italian.


“In a few hours, from the AirLock, a new stage of this extraordinary experience will begin. My thoughts are of gratitude for this privilege,” Parmitano tweeted Monday night before the spacewalk began.

The official European Space Agency Twitter account replied: “Good luck, we’re all with you as you step out that door!”

Pretty amazing.

Among the list of chores the two astronauts had to take care of was retrieving two science experiments, replacing a Space-to-Ground-Transmitter Receiver Controller that had failed in December 2012, and routing cable wires in anticipation of a new Russian research facility, docking port and airlock module called Nauka that will arrive at the station later this year.

Parmitano even got to ride on the end of a robotic arm attached to the space station while helping Cassidy relocate two Radiator Grapple Bars and removing a failed camera assembly that helped the astronauts monitor visiting vehicles.

Cassidy and Parmitano are scheduled for another spacewalk on July 16.