ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst shared this photo on social media with the comment: “Safe to say, this was the most amazing thing I have done in my life. The pump module I carry here has a mass of 400 kg. I could move it with my little finger.”
Alexander spent six hours and 13 minutes outside the International Space Station with NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman on Tuesday, 7 October 2014. This was the first spacewalk for both astronauts but they performed well in the weightlessness of orbit.
In a weightless world where there is no up or down, the pair worked together to move a 385 kg pump from the Station’s truss to a permanent stowage location near the US Destiny module.
Alexander strapped himself to the Station’s robotic arm and held on to the unit while NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore operated the 16 m-long Canadarm from inside the orbital outpost. While moving, Alexander held on to the pump unit with flexed arms to absorb any shocks.
After working with Reid to attach the pump, Alexander took the arm for a last ride to park it and prepare it for its next use, berthing visiting spacecraft. Here, Alexander had his hands free and time to take a few photographs, such as this one.
Alexander’s feet are strapped to the arm and tethers secure him to the arm. To the right is the commercial Dragon supply vessel.
Alexander then helped Reid to upgrade the power relay on a trolley before they returned to the airlock at 18:34 GMT.