In the meantime my Russian colleagues went for a stroll, a spacewalk or EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) in astronaut jargon. Astronauts do not often venture outside because of the risks involved. Furthermore, construction of the Space Station is almost complete and EVA’s are less necessary. Anton and Oleg started work on the Pirs and Poisk docking ports, they had to move some parts to prepare for future operations. I was eager to watch, but I could not observe them from ESA’s panoramic window Cupola due to safety restrictions in the ISS. Should the Station need to use the engines
So I went to my Soyuz capsule to take some pictures. I had a beautiful view of the activities from the Soyuz window. My colleagues Dan and Anatoly sat in the other Soyuz. Not because they wanted to, but for safety. In an emergency the coupling mechanism above the airlock would have to be used as a temporary airlock and Dan and Anatoly would not be able to reach their Soyuz. The rules state that astronauts always need to be able to reach their Soyuz. As a precaution they went to sit out the spacewalk in their capsule. Once the activities outside had finished they were allowed back in the ISS. This is common up here. Safety is paramount. Thinking about safety and following procedures takes up time. A lot of time!