It’s been just over a month since British astronaut Tim Peake reached the International Space Station, and despite calling the first 24 hours “pretty rough” and describing feelings of dizziness and isolation, he appears to be coping well.
On 15th January, Peake made history, becoming the first British person to ever perform a spacewalk. Along with his fellow flight engineer, Tim Kopra, the pair were expected to undertake a six hour long spacewalk in order to repair a broken power unit on the outside of the station.
The spacewalk, which lasted four hours, was cut short after a water globule developed inside Tim Kopra’s helmet. It is thought that the water came from a leaking cooling system.
It is NASA policy to terminate spacewalks when water globules develop, after an incident in 2013, when a significant helmet leak nearly drowned Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano.
Despite the mishap, NASA have declared the spacewalk a success, as the pair repaired a faulty solar panel and laid some new cables in order to return full power to the space station for the first time since November.
Peake described his first spacewalk as “exhilarating” and said it will “be etched in my memory forever – quite an incredible feeling”. Following the spacewalk Peake posted a series of photos from outside the space station, including a selfie.
Whilst Peake is in space, it’s expected he will take part in eight experiments for the European Space Agency to see just what long-term space flight does to the human body. In one of these experiments Peake will have to take regular readings of his lung function. In the space station’s sealed environment dust and other particulate matter can build up in the air and irritate astronauts’ eyes and lungs. It is hoped that this experiment could further research into asthma and other respiritory illnesses which affect over 300 million people globally.
In February it’s expected that some UEA students will get the chance to speak to Peake, along with the City of Norwich School, Norwich School and Reepham High School it’s likely that students will have a 10 minute direct radio link-up with the astronaut and the chance to ask questions.