This month, three astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will complete their first-ever space walks, the first of which takes place today.
Today, Tuesday, NASA flight engineer Reid Wiseman and European Space Agency (ESA) flight engineer Alexander Gerst will exit the space station’s air lock for the 182nd space walk in support of ISS assembly and maintenance.
The will be the first space walk for Expedition 41 but it’s also the first space walk in both Wiseman and Gerst’s careers. Wiseman will quickly up his total space walks on 15 October, however, when he is scheduled for his second mission to replace failed equipment with NASA flight engineer Barry Wilmore.
Both Wiseman and Gerst will be wearing US spacesuits during today’s mission, but the pair will be distinguishable by red stripes on Wiseman’s suit.
Their task is to take a failed cooling pump from temporary to long-term storage on the station’s truss and to install a new relay system that will provide reliable power to the system that moves the station’s robotic arm.
In all, this mission is expected to take up to six and a half hours and will be broadcast live from NASA TV from 11am UTC, with the space walk set to begin at 12.10pm UTC (1.10pm in Ireland).
Both astronauts have been busy readying their suits, tools, equipment in preparation for the space walk, sharing their experience on Twitter.
Gerst previously put his ISS vantage point to good use on Twitter, sharing tweets of stunning photos of Earth, but now his attention has turned to documenting the upcoming mission.
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) October 6, 2014
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) October 4, 2014
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) October 7, 2014
— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) October 6, 2014