Two more spacewalks for ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet
24 March 2017
In January, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet completed a spacewalk to upgrade the International Space Station’s batteries. It has now been announced that he will undertake not one, but two more spacewalks over the coming months!
The first of these bonus spacewalks will see Thomas and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough enter their spacesuits and head outside to install a new computer on the International Space Station. Thomas will then perform checks on a large robotic hand called Dextre. Once complete, engineers on Earth will be able to move Dextre via remote control, using it to rearrange parts of the International Space Station. Thomas and Shane will also work on the Station’s electrical power distribution system, and disconnect a docking adapter to allow its move to a new location.
For the other spacewalk Thomas will be joined by NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. They will replace a power unit, install new antennas and cameras, and work on a device called the AMS-02 antimatter hunter.
These extra missions are expected to take place in late March and April, but the exact dates are not yet known. This is because Thomas will need specialist equipment that still has to be sent on a Cygnus supply vessel from Earth to the International Space Station.
Spacewalks are complicated missions and involve hundreds of people on Earth as well as the astronauts themselves. The fact that Thomas has been assigned another two shows just how good the training is that ESA astronauts receive!
Would you like to go on a spacewalk? What do you think your mission would be?
Cool fact: Thomas is now on track to complete three spacewalks during his six-month mission to the International Space Station.