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Spacewalk time-lapse reveals the fiddly work of an astronaut

The European Space Agency (ESA) has shared a time-lapse from the International Space Station showing astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide on a spacewalk earlier this month.

Spacewalk season timelapse, episode 4

The footage highlights just how fiddly the work of an astronaut can be during such extravehicular activities (EVA) — to give spacewalks their official name — with both men spending an inordinate amount of time in a single location while performing intricate work in bulky suits.

You’ll quickly spot the astronauts’ special bag containing all the tools that they needed during their EVA, which lasted 6 hours and 54 minutes. To prevent the tools from floating off into the abyss of space, each tool is tethered to the interior of the bag, which itself is tethered to the exterior of the station.

Also, watch out at the 45-second mark as Pesquet — in the suit without red stripes — takes a quick break to turn and wave at the camera.

During the walk, Pesquet and Hoshide prepared a section of the space station for its solar panel upgrade that will boost the orbiting outpost’s power system.

The ESA said that after the lengthy spacewalk, the astronauts celebrated with some ice cream. “Spacewalks last seven hours and are like top sport, so we need the calories afterwards,” Pesquet said later.

This was Pesquet’s sixth spacewalk across two ISS missions, and Hoshide’s fourth, also across two missions.

The ESA has been posting a series of spacewalk time-lapses in recent months. The one below shows an astronaut secured to the end of the station’s robotic Canadarm as it moves around the exterior of the station.

Spacewalk season timelapse, episode 3

More than 240 spacewalks have been conducted at the ISS since the orbiting laboratory went into operation two decades ago. The EVAs are usually for maintenance or upgrade work.

Built by international partners, the station is one yard short of the full length of an American football field, with living quarters described by NASA as being “larger than a six-bedroom house.”

There are usually around six astronauts living and working on the ISS at any given time. Check out this collection of videos showing how the crew work, rest, and play during their time aboard the habitable satellite.

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Trevor Mogg
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