Heading outside

Credits: ESA/NASA

Credits: ESA/NASA

Credits: ESA/NASA

Credits: ESA/NASA

Tomorrow Tim and I are going on our EVA. We have been preparing for this specific spacewalk  for weeks in space, and months before that on Earth. However, to undertake an EVA actually takes several years of training. We have spent many hours working in our spacesuits, ‘floating’ in the largest swimming pool on Earth with a Space Station mockup.We have used virtual reality headsets to re-enact our operations and trained for the worst case scenario of becoming detached from the Space Station but I guess nothing can fully prepare  for the feeling of being outside of a spacecraft in the vacuum of space.

Although I am exhilarated by tomorrow’s spacewalk I have no time to dwell on these emotions. The six hours and thirty minutes we will work on the Space Station’s hull are meticulously planned and Tim and I need to execute each step methodically.

In the past few weeks we have been preparing our tools and going over the EVA timeline that is almost 40 pages long. Reid Wiseman will be talking to us and guiding us from mission control – all operations in space rely on tremendous support from the dedicated international ground operations team. Reid has two spacewalks under his belt and his second EVA was similar to ours in that he swapped a Sequential Shunt Unit (SSU) – we cannot think of a better colleague to talk to on the space-to-ground voice loop.

Virtual reality spacewalk training with Tim Kopra. Credits: NASA Virtual Reality Laboratory

Virtual reality spacewalk training with Tim Kopra. Credits: NASA Virtual Reality Laboratory

Our tools and spacesuits are ready, with all of our tools either clipped onto our spacesuit’s ‘Mini Work-Station’ or stowed inside tool bags  in the order we need them. In previous EVAs the bolt that keeps the SSU didn’t always turn smoothly and NASA thinks this might be because the thread gets blocked with debris. In true The Martian style we fabricated a makeshift tool out of a toothbrush to clean the pinion thread if necessary.

You stop, you drop

I can hear my trainers at the European Astronaut Centre and their constant drilling in my ears: "you stop, you drop" meaning that as soon as you stop moving from A to B you 'drop' a tether - a short strap securing you to the nearest handrail. In space, if it isn’t fixed down it will float away, and that includes ourselves. As we move to the furthest edge of the Space Station we will be attached to an anchor point by a thin steel wire on a reel, called a Safety Tether. These thin steel wires are a double-edged sword however as we must remain vigilant to not get them tangled up.

Credits: ESA/NASA

Credits: ESA/NASA

As soon as we exit the airlock we will keep check on each other. The helmet in our EMU suits does not move, so I rely on Tim to check nothing is caught or snagging, as Tim relies on me to check his back. Spacewalks, like many critical operations, operate on the buddy-buddy system. Tim and I will constantly be checking each other and relying on each other for assistance if something should go wrong.

So having completed all of our training and preparations – it’s finally time to go for a walk. See you on the other side of the airlock, we have already packed our toothbrush!



  • Sandy Moffat says:

    We're so proud of you back on Terra Firma, Tim! Good luck and remember to take it all in!

  • Josh Walker says:

    Love the toothbrush aha! Have you read the book? If not, when your back on the ground later this year, pick it up! You won't regret it!

    Looking forward to watching the NASA TV coverage tomorrow, as well as all ESA/NASA content in the future!

  • Honey Thorne says:

    Are you scared about doing the space walks?

  • Paul Rattray says:

    So happy you're getting your chance at your EVA. When you spot the UK ... or Europe for that matter, think of us waving to you!

  • Louise Fisher says:

    Good luck out there ...so in awe of everything you stand for and all that you achieve.

  • Andy Neal says:

    Best of luck to you both. Just been debating with some of the unfortunate 'flat earth' believers - it's so sad that people can still be so mistrusting of real science & real people - kind of blows my mind! Maybe you could Skype them from up there to end this torrent of crazy misinformation 😉 Have an awesome time, good luck, & remember you stop you drop!! 😉

    From Andy, musician, Lincoln UK.

  • Chris Daniels says:

    Good luck Tim. Wonderful inspiration to us all. Looking forward to the next update.

  • Pat Dutton says:

    Have fun walking in the air Tim....be safe!

  • Richard Carbutt says:

    Good luck Tim. Give the UK a wave as you float by!

  • Joan E Ford says:

    Goodluck guys. Sending positive vibes upto you. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Joanna & Finlay says:

    Good luck and have an amazing space walk tomorrow!! Me and my little boy Finlay will be looking up to see if we catch a glimpse of you! Take care! xx

  • D Tyllyer says:

    So I have to say that it's absolutely amazing that you guys train for so long for such a short EVA? I was wondering wouldn't it be better to send astronauts up as a team for 1 year mission as the norm. So all of the crew get there fair share of EVAs while orbiting our fantastic planet. Because lets be honest every crew member is hoping and preying the get to go outside, I know I would be. But nether the less you are doing a great job and we will be watching you and all of the crew on the space walk tomorrow. God bless and good luck!

    • Doug Taylor says:

      We simply don't know what effect that duration of space flight would have on the body yet. We'll have some data when Scott Kelly and his Russian counterpart come down after spending 340 days in orbit mid-March. But 6-months of microgravity already sustains some risks including loss of bone density and circulatory issues (as strong as your heart is, many blood vessels get assistance from gravity, their heart is working a bit harder than usual). One day once we understand the effect and can circumvent them we can maybe have longer duration visits!

  • Mel Sheldon says:

    Great blog, can't wait to see your first spacewalk and enjoy every moment. Stay safe, we're all so incredibly proud of you and your interaction with us 'normal' people back on Earth is bringing the excitement of Space to so many homes and to the astronauts of the future, our children.

  • Nikki Bailey says:

    Dear Astronaut Tim & astronaut Tim

    My children #AstroMia, Poppy & I would like to send you positivity for a ground breaking space walk tomorrow.

    We will be right behind you ...we can't tell you enough how much we are enjoying watching you progress. It is such an incredible experience to follow your journey in space...& so honeyed to watch you each day. It's out of this world!

    So from an excited #AstroMia, Poppy & I we send you good wishes & a safe space walk tomorrow, we are so excited for you.

    Don't forget your tooth brush & socks

    Kind wishes from Nikki, #AstroMia & Poppy xx

    @NikkiSalsa twitter

  • Mike gore says:

    Doing our country proud! Keep the fab pictures coming

  • Autumn says:

    Brilliant! Massive good wishes to you for your first EVA tomorrow. Will be watching every minute of it and feeling so proud of you!

  • Priscilla says:

    All the very best of luck in the world & beyond! Totally amazing to read what you'll be doing, it truly is incredible and brave, but not to mention exciting! Enjoy and stay safe xx

  • Nerina says:

    Good luck tomorrow Gents.
    We will be thinking of you. Amazing. Inspired. Brave.

  • David Galvin says:

    I feel very proud and emotional for what you both are going to be doing. I will be at Jodrell Bank watching the mission live. We have got your backs guys. God speed and see you on the other side.

  • Jane says:

    I hope one of the tools is a webcam. Good luck, amazing.

  • Carole Bowerman says:

    tomorrow will be the adventure of a lifetime. It will top anything in the trip so far. Good luck from Westbury Wiltshire.

  • Leigh says:

    From the Queen to the Prime Minister to the celebrities to the general public you have captured the imagination of the masses - I have long loved the ISS and space and science and even I feel my love for it has gone up a gear - so thank you for the making it so personal and accessible - aspire to inspire

  • Daniel A-N says:

    Hi guys,
    I have a little idea of how you might be feeling. Just do your best out there and God Speed.
    I love you guys.
    Enjoy your Astronautical Surgery.....
    God Speed...
    Daniel Anusiem-Nzenwa

  • Kelly Bratton says:

    Good Luck to our homegrown Tim Peake and to Tim Kopra today. Have an amazing time Tim P. X

  • Jules Offord says:

    Have a great time Tim and Tim! The worlds highest walk! Look forward to updates later today

  • Bonita says:

    truly awesome opportunity - enjoy and be safe!

  • James Mcknight says:

    Good Tim

  • Rob says:

    Tim and Co have lovely experience. We on earth are soooooo chuffed for you. Enjoy the unforgettable experience wish I was with you.

  • Richard Randle says:

    Have an amazing experience to the two Tims. If you have a moment please give us a wave - harnessed I am sure!

  • Adam says:

    Such a wonderful learning experience for all mankind.

    Good luck!

  • Silvia Barnish says:

    Amazing stuff.
    I will be sitting from my hospital bed watching the sky and thinking of you guys !! You are all so brave ...

  • Jildent says:

    Nice work, as always 😉 Keep it up Guys!

  • R Casha says:

    Forget the toothbrush. Do you know where your towel is?

  • Ali Grahamslaw says:

    We were all glued, the live coverage was astounding and exhilarating to watch. We were so relieved to see you both safely installed back in the ISS! Congratulations! what an achievement!

  • Anita Cardosa says:

    Mesmerising Tim P watching you on TV today doing your EVA. A super proud moment especially for the UK. Great pics. Keep on sending lots. Stay safe. Anita and family.

  • Greg Burke says:

    Congratulations on a successful spacewalk, Tim! I watched the whole thing on NASA TV. Hope you had time to take it all in during the various pauses. Amazing images showed a sense of scale of this huge thing we've somehow put in the sky with the much smaller astronauts finding their way around it. Can't wait to hear your comments about how it went, the views, the tight maneuvering around the structure as you laid the cabling and what you did in the bits of spare waiting time while you were out there between the world and everything else. Hope you have more space walking to come!

  • Rodger Sukh says:

    Proud of you both for you passion and achievements for humanity. You can conquer the challenge because you are blessed by your Creator and you are carrying His image which includes the capacity to go beyond imagination for His glory. Have a safe venture in space. Praying for you both.

  • Congratulations on your space walk. And thank you for posting all of the fab pictures and explanations!

  • D.tyllyer says:

    So all the hype regarding tim Peake's EVA was worth it then.. Outstanding work sir. A complete success on you EVA. Well done mate. I was watching the live coverage, just awesome. My children gave suddenly discovered a real passion for space and its all thanks to you major Peake.. I praise you for this big time. Thank pal.

  • Kat Hale says:

    Wow, was glued to the coverage of your space walk. I'm 52 and was blown away by it, I can't imagine how amazed I'd have been if this happened when I was a youngster. My career has been in IT, yesterday I got to see how technology has made anything possible. The kids who watched are going to grow up wanting to have a part to play in the future of space travel. Totally inspirational. Thanks for making it real. Be safe and I will continue to follow this incredible journey.

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