These days NASA livestreams its spacewalks from outside the International Space Station (ISS), offering interested folks the chance to watch astronauts doing their job in one of the coolest workspaces ever.
The real-time footage, however, can sometimes be a bit blurry or unstable, occasionally leaving viewers squinting as they try to work out exactly what they’re looking at.
Aiming to make amends, NASA has just posted some pin-sharp spacewalk footage (top) recorded using high-definition cameras attached to astronauts’ spacesuits.
The quality is simply incredible, offering space fans a detailed view of recent work conducted outside the ISS.
The footage features NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Kate Rubins, as well as Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, all of whom are currently aboard the space station (though due to leave soon).
You’ll also see NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken, who together conducted a total of four spacewalks in the summer of 2020.
Here are the specific timings for each of the astronauts who feature in the video at the top of this page:
00:00 – 00:53: January 27, 2021 – Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover
00:54 – 2:13: March 13, 2021 – Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover
2:13 – 3:06: March 5, 2021 – Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi
3:06 – 05:45: July 20, 2020 – Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken
As of April 2021, there have been 237 spacewalks at the ISS. The walks usually involve maintenance work or upgrades to the orbiting outpost, with each one lasting between five and eight hours, depending on the nature of the task.
The first person to embark on a spacewalk was Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov. The outing took place during the Voskhod 2 mission on March 18, 1965, and lasted around 10 minutes, with Leonov connected to his spacecraft by a 4.8-meter-long tether.
The first American to go on a spacewalk was NASA astronaut Ed White. It took place on June 3, 1965, during the Gemini 4 mission, and lasted about 23 minutes. As White floated in space more than 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean , he radioed back to Mission Control in Houston: “This is the greatest experience, it’s just tremendous. Right now I’m standing on my head and I’m looking right down, and it looks like we’re coming up on the coast of California. There is absolutely no disorientation associated with it.” He described ending the spacewalk as the saddest moment of his life.
After you’ve watched NASA’s HD footage, check out this collection of amazing spacewalk photos talking over the decades.