Canadian astronaut goes outside ISS on his first spacewalk

Astronauts David Saint-Jacques and Anne McClain went out on a spacewalk Monday morning.

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques has been on the International Space Station for months, but on Monday morning he finally reached the next milestone of his career - his very first spacewalk.

Starting at 8:05 a.m. EDT, on April 8, Saint-Jacques exited the space station, adorned in his spacesuit, accompanied by NASA astronaut Anne McClain.


David Saint-Jacques and Anne McClain pose with the spacesuits they wore on their Monday spacewalk. Credit: NASA

For the next 6.5 hours, the two spacewalkers performed upgrades to the station.

According to NASA's Space Station blog:

"During the six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully established a redundant path of power to the Canadian-built robotic arm, known as Canadarm2, and installed cables to provide for more expansive wireless communications coverage outside the orbital complex, as well as for enhanced hardwired computer network capability. The duo also relocated an adapter plate from the first spacewalk in preparation for future battery upgrade operations."

Coverage of the spacewalk began at 6:30 a.m. EDT. Watch below, again, via NASA TV and the Canadian Space Agency.

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This was the third of three spacewalks performed by the current crew, all intended to upgrade the station's systems.

McClain and fellow NASA astronaut Nick Hague completed the first round of power upgrades, replacing older nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries on one of the stations solar panel arrays, on March 22. A week later, on March 29, Hague and NASA astronaut Christina Koch completed that work, by replacing the batteries on the other solar array.

The March 29 spacewalk was supposed to be the very first all-women spacewalk in NASA history, as it was originally scheduled for McClain and Koch, supported on the ground by Kristen Faccio, from the Canadian Space Agency. A problem with McClain's suit size prompted her to step down from that spacewalk, and she recommended that Hague take her place.

Source: NASA