Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will take his first real steps into the unknown next week. David Saint-Jacques will be conducting his first-ever spacewalk on the morning of April 8th, landmarking the first time in over a decade that a Canadian Space Agency astronaut has participated in a spacewalk.
So, what exactly is a spacewalk? According to NASA, a spacewalk occurs anytime an astronaut exits out of a vehicle while in space. Spacewalks are also called EVA which stands for extravehicular activity.
The walks allow astronauts to work outside of their spacecraft; they are commonly used to conduct experiments which allow scientist to discover how being in space affects different objects. The walks are also used to test out new equipment or repair malfunctioning items instead of returning them to earth.
David Saint-Jacques was one of two astronauts chosen to join the Canadian Space Agency in 2009, alongside Jeremy Hansen. Hansen has yet to be selected for a space mission, unlike David who is currently touring his second-tour in space.
The airlock after an EVA: like a ski shack drying room! 😂 #DareToExplore— David Saint-Jacques (@Astro_DavidS) March 30, 2019
Le sas après une sortie spatiale : comme la salle de séchage d'un chalet après le ski! 😂 #OsezExplorer pic.twitter.com/6VciYEDGr0
The event will be going live on Monday, April 8th. The live broadcast of the spacewalk begins at 6:30 AM ET and viewers can tune in on the Canadian Space Agency's YouTube channel. The spacewalk ends at 2:30 PM, but the broadcast will be posted on the channel for later viewing.
Former Astronaut Dave Williams will be providing commentary during the walk. Williams currently holds the record for the highest number of hours for spacewalks than any ever CSA astronaut.
Below is an itinerary of Saint-Jacques' spacewalk, which is subject to change based on how the event unfolds:
6:30 a.m. ET: Broadcast begins.
8:05 a.m. ET: Spacewalk begins. It will include the following tasks:
- Relocate a battery adaptor plate.
- Upgrade the ISS's wireless communications system.
- Connect jumper cables along the midpoint of the Station's main truss to provide an alternate path of power to Canadarm2.
- Install structural equipment for an upcoming external platform designed to hold science experiments.
Thankfully, David will not be totally alone during his walk; CSA’s robotic flight controllers will be there to help the astronaut complete his mission.
To say David is a rare breed is putting it lightly - Saint-Jacques was selected to be one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. He serves as a flight engineer on the International Space Station, which means he performs navigation tasks for the station. Canada could not be more proud!