ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano will perform two spacewalks during his Volare mission, which starts May on the International Space Station.
As Expedition 36/37 flight engineer, Luca will conduct maintenance tasks, replace a camera mounted on Japan’s Kibo module and retrieve science payloads. One of his spacewalks will also prepare for the arrival of Russia’s Multipurpose Laboratory Module.
The dates for Luca’s spacewalks are not yet set, but are expected around early July.
Astronauts’ most challenging task
Many people dream of being an astronaut but what do astronauts dream of? For many, the highlight of their career is a spacewalk, or ‘Extravehicular Activity’ (EVA) in space jargon.
Flying in space with just a few centimetres of clothing to protect you from the vacuum and extreme hot and cold temperatures is extremely challenging. Spacewalks are only performed when absolutely necessary because of the preparation time required and the associated risks.
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.
In this picture, Luca is seen preparing for a simulated spacewalk and is wearing a training version of his Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuit. He is about to be submerged in the waters of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Divers in the water will assist Luca and fellow spacewalker, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, in their rehearsal, which is intended to help prepare them for work on the outside of the International Space Station.