Two spacewalks for Luca!
19 March 2013
ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano is going to do two spacewalks during his Volare mission, which starts in May on the International Space Station.
For many astronauts, the highlight of their career is to do a spacewalk, or 'Extravehicular Activity' (EVA). This means going outside of the International Space Station and 'walking in space' to carry out repairs or install new equipment.
Luca will be the flight engineer for Expedition 36/37, and part of his job will be to carry out maintenance tasks, replace a camera on Japan’s Kibo module and bring in science payloads that are sent up to the ISS. One of his spacewalks will also prepare for the arrival of Russia’s Module.
It is very difficult to fly in space with just a few centimetres of clothing to protect you from the vacuum and extreme hot and cold temperatures. Spacewalks are only performed when absolutely necessary because of the time it takes to prepare, and all the risks that go with it.
For the astronaut, even though performing an EVA is physically and mentally very demanding, working outside a spacecraft offers one of the best views ever. Imagine seeing the beautiful view of the Earth from so high up!
In this picture, Luca is seen preparing for a practice spacewalk and is wearing a training version of his spacesuit. He will practice in a special swimming pool near NASA’s Center in Houston, Texas, as trying to walk under water will feel very similar to walking in space. The dates for Luca's spacewalks have not been fixed yet, but will probably be in early July.