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NASA astronaut talks spacewalks ahead of next one on Monday

NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover are gearing up for their second spacewalk in less than a week as part of Expedition 64 aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Ahead of the extravehicular activity (EVA) that’s scheduled to start early on Monday, February 1, NASA posted a short video (below) showing some dramatic spacewalk footage accompanied by an audio track of Hopkins talking about his very first EVA, which took place in 2013.

The American astronaut, who has since completed two additional spacewalks, described his first one eight years ago as “a pretty emotional moment,” adding, “It can be a little bit nerve-racking, and you’re also very excited, right, because this is one of those events that you’ve dreamed about.”

But Hopkins says that the moment you emerge from the hatch into space, “the training kicks in [and] all of a sudden it’s just muscle memory.”

The key to getting off to a good start on a spacewalk? Hours of practice. See how @Astro_illini and @AstroVicGlover put what they learned on the ground to use in space. NASA TV coverage begins at 5:30am ET on Mon., Feb. 1:

— NASA (@NASA) February 1, 2021

Glover’s own feelings about what it’s like to embark on a debut spacewalk 250 miles above Earth will be fresh in his own mind as it took place just a few days ago. Working with Hopkins, Glover performed a range of tasks, including jettisoning a decommissioned part of the ISS into space — a fascinating procedure captured by an ISS camera.

During Monday’s EVA, the two astronauts will install a final lithium-ion battery adapter plate, which will wrap up battery replacement work that started four years ago.

Hopkins and Glover will also remove a grapple fixture bracket, replace an external camera on the starboard truss, install a new high-definition camera on the Destiny laboratory, and replace components for the Japanese robotic arm’s camera system outside the Kibo module, NASA said.

The space agency will be streaming the entire spacewalk online. Here’s how you can watch. Coverage starts at 5.30 a.m. ET, but the astronauts aren’t expected to emerge from the orbiting outpost until around 7 a.m. If it’s a bit too early, the good news is that the spacewalk is likely to last around six hours, so you can join it anytime — or simply dip in and out — throughout the morning.

In the meantime, check out our collection of incredible spacewalk images captured since NASA’s very first EVA 56 years ago.

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Trevor Mogg
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