NASA astronauts have been spacewalking for 50 years (infographic)

1 Mar 2015

Astronaut Rex Walheim works on the outside of the Columbus laboratory to make it part of the International Space Station. Image via NASA

This year, NASA celebrates a rather momentous achievement in space travel with the 50th anniversary of the first person that opened the door of a spaceship and walked into the vastness of space.

Known officially as extravehicular activities (EVA), spacewalks are obviously one of the most dangerous, but important pursuits astronauts have to engage in, particularly on spacecraft orbiting the Earth.

However, the first spacewalk was not achieved by a NASA astronaut, but rather a Soviet cosmonaut named Alexei Leonov who will forever go down in history as the first human to conduct a spacewalk on 18 March 1965.

As part of his mission, Alexei spent just 12 minutes in space tethered to his Voskhod-2 craft which was soon surpassed in length by the US and NASA with astronaut Ed White making a 23 minute spacewalk from his Gemini-4 capsule on 3 June.

Compared with Alexei’s mission however, Ed also had a hand-operated oxygen gun which blasted him from the capsule and allowed him to move much quicker.

It’s now NASA’s goal to bring spacewalking to its next challenge, the planet Mars.


Click the infographic for an enlarged version. Infographic via NASA

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic