Talk:Extravehicular activity

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Personal cumulative duration records[edit]

Why is the American listed? I mean, if we're going to list one national record, we should list every national record, and then we end up with a list with one entry for each country that has ever had a citizen in space. Personally, I don't want that (I'm not a big fan of all these list-style articles that are so often found on Wikipedia). I'd rather see either 1) one record, THE record, or 2) records by agency, so one for ESA, one for NASA, one for RKA, and so on (this being superior to the nation list in that it will be somewhat shorter). Opinions? (talk) 07:45, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

In-flight repair[edit]

The article states that "The first EVA to perform an in-flight repair of the Space Shuttle was...". Does anyone know what was the first EVA to perform an in-flight repair (as opposed to EVA for the sake of it or EVA for installing additional equipment) ever, that sounds like an important milestone. Nikola 10:18, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes; and it's in the article now. The very first EVA for repair purposes occurred way before the Shuttle / ISS era, when the crew of Skylab 2 had to save the Skylab station by deploying a "parasol" to shade it from the Sun and keep it from overheating, and by freeing a stuck solar panel so it would get adequate electrical power. (The station had been damaged during launch when its solar shield got ripped off by aerodynamic forces during launch, tearing off one of the solar panels with it and jamming the other one.) This happened in June, 1973. JustinTime55 (talk) 18:34, 28 January 2011 (UTC)


I've heard somewhere that EVA can be exhausting for astronauts to the point that they lose weight during one. Does that make any sense?

Exhausting? They usually stay out there for a good few hours! Just have a look at some of the more recent EVAs and their durations: --UD75 21:26, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes. It takes a lot of effort to deform the pressurized space suit. The astronaut's workload depends on how much the movements required bend the suit joints.

It's not as bad today as it was in the earliest days of space flight. On the first US EVA, Ed White saw his thermal glove float out of the Gemini capsule but he said he was just too tired to reach for it. On another Gemini mission, the EVA astronaut became so tired that he ended up clinging to the nose of the capsule until he had recovered enough to get back inside.

This problem is mitigated in four ways: (1) improved space suit design, (2) astronaut physique, (3) reduced pressure in the space suits, and (4) EVA task planning.

Space suit design has emphasized reducing the need to deform the shape of the suit. In the Shuttle suit, sliding joints at the shoulders were a major improvement in upper body mobility. The latest innovation in US space suits was the new gloves designed by Amy Ross (daughter of astronaut Jerry Ross) which were first flown on STS-88 (IIRC). All sorts of other ideas are being investigated including constant-volume joints and hard suits.

EVA crewmembers tend to be very muscular and they get really pumped up before a flight. The reason there have been very few female EVA astronauts is that in general female astronauts don't have the upper body strength required.

Reduced pressure obviously reduces the amount of force required to bend the suit. That's why astronauts are concerned about getting bent, hence the oxygen prebreathe protocol and apirin before every EVA.

In planning EVA tasks, engineers put a great deal of emphasis in keeping the astronaut's hands within the optimum work envelope (right in front of the astronaut's chest) and minimizing the need for repetitiously reaching long distances.

Greg 07:30, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

EVA collision hazards[edit]

An EVA is dangerous for a number of different reasons. The primary one is collision with space debris. Orbital velocity at 300 km above the Earth (typical for a Space Shuttle mission) is 7.7 km/s. This is 10 times the speed of a bullet, so the kinetic energy of a small particle with a mass 1/100th that of a bullet (e.g. a fleck of paint or a grain of sand) is equal to that of a bullet.

This statement may be correct for one object moving at 7.7 km/s relating to earth while the other collision object has no speed relating to earth. But for every other frame of reference this is wrong. Speeds and kinetic energies can be much higher or slower. --Abdull 14:32, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree. We like to avoid EVA because it takes so much crew time. Orbital debris has not come up as a significant EVA hazard; the probability of a collision with an object as small as a space-suited astronaut is extremely low. Greg 10:44, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

I also agree. An astronaut on an EVA is also orbiting the Earth at 7.7 km/s, so the relative speed between him and the specks of dust is small. -- 08:57, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

strange sentence?[edit]

Still, some scientists are developing tele-operated robots for outside construction work, to potentially eliminate the need for human EVAs.

This sentence seems strange to me. Somehow the tone doesn't fit the article. I guess the "some" needs clarfiying, and probably a cite, but I was tempted to remove it completely as it didn't add anything to me. -21:04, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Leonov picture[edit]

Is it a real photo ? I think there is no good photo from Leonov. Read here : Ericd 21:18, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

EVA Hazards: Glove Incident on STS-37[edit]

The document states: "One astronaut has suffered a spacesuit puncture. During STS-37, a small rod punctured the glove of one of the astronauts (the name is undisclosed, but it was either Jerry L. Ross or Jay Apt). However, the puncturing object, which stabbed the astronaut's hand as well, held in place, resulting in no detectable depressurization. In fact, the puncture was not noticed until after the spacewalkers were safely back inside Atlantis."

This paragraph has an external link to an essay by Geoff Landis that does not appear to be related to the incident.

The facts are a bit off, too. The astronaut's hand was not stabbed, and the puncture was not discovered until after Atlantis landed.

I see some difficulty with writing a Wikipedia article about it because no official public NASA documents give the details; hence, verification is available only via anecdotes from the people who were there. (That would be me. I worked on the STS-37 EVA. All the details came out during the EVA crew debrief at JSC after the flight.) Nevertheless, perhaps a wiser head can figure out how to tune up the article.

(See notes below.)

-- Greg 10:46, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

What really happened on STS-37[edit]

The EVA glove has a spring-steel palm restraint bar that keeps the palm from ballooning out away from the hand. Some time during the EVA, the palm restraint bar on the astonaut's glove was driven loose and punctured the pressure layer of his glove. The end of the palm restraint bar was still inside the outer layers of the glove.

We speculated that the glove failure occurred when the astronaut used his hand like a hammer to loosen a balky restraint pin on one of the CETA carts. There was a bit of consternation about that in the mission support room during the EVA.

The astronaut did not notice the problem at the time but when they got back inside he noticed that he had a blister between his thumb and forefinger. At that time, he thought it was because of chafing from the glove, which is common during an EVA, even more so before the new glove design.

After STS-37 landed, the space suits were sent to FEPAC for regular processing. A suit technician noticed a discoloration on the outside of the glove. It looked like rust. Analysis in the laboratory showed that the foreign material was the astronaut's blood.

They tore down the glove and discovered the problem with the palm restraint bar. In the subsequent investigation in the lab they discovered that the blood had coagulated and adhered to the steel restraint bar and the neopreme pressure layer, sealing the breach. The damage to the astronaut's hand was caused by having the skin between his thumb and forefinger exposed to vacuum, giving him the distinction of being only astronaut known to have bled into space.

If the astronaut's blood had not sealed the palm restraint bar in place, pressure probably would have driven it the rest of the way out. That would have left a 1/8" hole in the suit, a classic design case for space suits. In that case, we would have had a serious emergency. The astronaut's Secondary Oxygen Pack would have opened up to replenish the leakage, and he would have had 23 minutes to get back into pressure before suffering a high probability of neural damage. Of course, this did not happen; the breach was sealed and the astronaut was in no danger.

During informal discussions with the astronaut later (we are both science fiction buffs), we noted that such an incident had been foreshadowed by a science fiction story by Robert A. Heinlein entitled "Gentlemen, Be Seated." The difference was that, in Heinlein's story, the characters used their backsides to plug holes in a pressure shell on the moon. Greg 10:44, 2 September 2006 (UTC)


I'm wondering how many europeans, except Thomas Reiter has performed EVAs? Or was Reiter the first one? -- 07:18, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Or are Russians not Europeans? Nikola 22:42, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Russia is technicly a part of asia, so I don't think russia counts. Moray594 16:02, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

dubious commercial for some omega watch[edit]

"Included in this research was a wrist timepiece that would withstand the extremes of the outer space environment. After purchasing samples of the top branded chronographs (i.e. Rolex, Omega, Longines, etc.) and putting them through lab testing (including extreme cold/hot temperatures, humidity, G-forces, etc.), only the Omega Speedmaster model passed the NASA tests. It became the only approved watch for EVA during the Gemini project, was the first watch worn on the moon[1] and continues to be the only watch that may be worn during EVA."...which i removed. Quite a lot of stuff is worn by cosmonauts out of aircraft and there is no need to separately mention the wrist timepiece which was included except for commercial purposes. 15:38, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

This was a bit commercial. But I put a link back to the wikipedia Speedmaster page because the watch is actually the only one approved by NASA for EVA and is worn on the outside of the suits of many of the spacewalkers as standard issue equipment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:30, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

EVA start[edit]

The lead section currently says,

An American astronaut, in contrast, is not considered to have made an EVA until at least his head is outside the spacecraft.

But that doesn't seem to be current NASA practice with spacewalks from the ISS Quest airlock, at least. Instead, NASA apparently reports the start time as the time when the EMU goes onto internal power. Does anyone have a source to cite for these definitions? (sdsds - talk) 19:21, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Just noticed this and I agree this is not a valid definition. I'll reword it to reflect what actually is considered the start time. ArielGold 08:35, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Camp out[edit]

What exactly is the "camp out procedure" referred to in the article? Jpatokal 13:03, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

I've added a brief description of the procedure, and another reference that describes it in even more detail. (sdsds - talk) 20:43, 23 June 2007 (UTC)


Anyone think this image should be in the article? Willy888 10:39, 3 July 2007 (UTC)


Note, this image has been replaced by this one: File:Gumdrop Meets Spider - GPN-2000-001100.jpg

Future Orlan use?[edit]

Is there at this point any plan for future EVAs that will use Orlan spacesuits? Or was the Kotov and Yurchikhin EVA on June 6, 2007 the last of these? (sdsds - talk) 16:40, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Hrmm, I must have missed something, are they not using the Russian suits at all anymore? Will all EVAs be done from US suits? ArielGold 17:23, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Where possible, it is preferred i think. The US suits are much easier to work with, come in more sizes, the Quest airlock is much more advanced then the rather simple Pirs module. Basically the only time you will really see them in use, is if work needs to be done on the Russian side i think. And until MLM or the stowage module arrives, that will be rare i gather. --TheDJ (talkcontribs) 17:38, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Well that makes perfect sense, I've wondered for several years why they didn't use US suits/Airlock, but as for sdsds's original question, I don't know, I guess as DJ said it might end up being done on some occasions, but probably not regularly. As an aside, I updated the Orlan article with references, if anyone wants to add anything about this semi-retirement to it. ArielGold 17:43, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
On past usage thing: The Orlan suits are much more durable. The US suits need much more regular servicing and maintenance. Besides most work being done on the russian side back then, also remember that the Shuttle didn't fly for a long while. That meant that US suits didn't fly for a long time, because maintenance to the suits was limited. This is also posing a significant issue for post 2010. No more new components for the US suits are being produced, because of the new moon/mars suit that is being designed. Therefore they are cannibalizing the current ones. They need at least 6 full suits for ISS in orbit before 2010 and they will need to hold till at least 2016 and possibly even longer. Extra gloves etc could theoretically be launched on a Progress ship, but they would prefer not to. That is a gigantic task for the folks maintaining these suits, and atm one of the few post Shuttle-era issues that are not fully solved yet. (Keep in mind that each Shuttle flight brings its own EMUs atm as well as regularly swapping out the ISS ones, the last thing is mostly done on logistics flights as opposed to assembly flights). --TheDJ (talkcontribs) 21:16, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Ahh, yeah I hadn't even thought about that aspect of it. Seems silly they don't continue to make them, though, I mean in the big picture it would seem to be a wise move, but hey. I guess the next decade will prove quite interesting. ArielGold 21:18, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

2008 EVAs[edit]

This section should be removed per WP:RECENT. There is no 2007 EVAs section so it stands to reason that the 2008 section won't be there in 2009. Rather than have the maintenance issue with keeping the article up to date, why not just leave the list of spacewalks to the List of spacewalks and moonwalks article? -- Mufka (u) (t) (c) 12:54, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Hyphen or no? ("extra-vehicular" vs. "extravehicular")[edit]

Do we have any authoritative sources to give preference of one version over another? Neither seem to be regular dictionary terms. Robert K S (talk) 03:47, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Why only US pictures[edit]

There are no pictures of Russian spacewalks, even the Chinese have conducted a spacewalk, I think these each deserve at least one picture on the page... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:15, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunetly, the copyright status of images from the russian and chinese space agency remains largely unclear, and thus we cannot use them in Wikipedia, because we don't know wether or not it is legal. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 16:21, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Screw 'em. They don't recognize US copyright and have ripped off our stuff for decades. —EWAdams (talk) 11:40, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Two EVA Questions[edit]

I have herd of an "internal" EVA on NASA TV, their description was something about lowering pressure on one segment of the ISS while two astronauts stay inside, I don't get how this counts as an EVA, does anyone have any information on this? (they said the next one would be on June 10th)

Also I was wondering if expedition EVA's ever use the Quest Airlock, it seems that they always use PIRS with the Russian suits, why do they do that?

If anyone has info on these things I would appreciate it, I have always wondered about these two items... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:30, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Difficulty of simulation does not equal danger[edit]

The article includes a non sequitur to the effect that spacewalks are difficult to simulate on Earth and that makes them dangerous in space. This doesn't follow logically. A poor simulation on the ground does not translate to a hazard in space. WHY are they dangerous, apart from the collision hazard? I'm reluctant to remove the assertion, because I'm sure it makes sense to the author, but there is clearly a step missing. Something about spacewalks must be dangerous that it is important to simulate correctly, but we don't know what that is. EWAdams (talk) 17:59, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

African American = Black American[edit]

Can we changed it? Elon Musk is an African American, but isn't of African descent, so if we said something like Elon Musk is the first African-American to start his own rocket business than it would be confusing to the reader.--Craigboy (talk) 06:41, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, he's a Caucasian South African, so something needs to be put in to keep the reader from being confused and making a wrong assumption by the simple term. We may have to have "First African-American (South African)" and "First African-American (of color)" or something. SBHarris 19:20, 13 April 2010 (UTC)


Have there been many unscheduled EVAs? If so, when was the first, and why? __meco (talk) 19:15, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Problems with the Milestones section[edit]

Why are things like the first space walks missing from the milestones section ... its a bit weird as it stands ... (talk) 15:56, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Because that would be duplication. They are there, in the Development history section, with a more appropriate level of detail than could be put in a list of milestones. JustinTime55 (talk) 13:54, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Picture in lead[edit]

I moved this picture from the lead to the talk page:

People in spacesuits work on Mir

My reasons are:

  • Redundant; we already have a lead photo.
  • Not well-framed; the cosmonauts are hard to see amid the antenna (per WP:IMAGE guidelines)
  • I think its copyright status is improperly set; the not easily-identifiable uploader incorrectly identified it as "own work", which is highly dubious. The uploader identifies it as simply "Space flight", which says nothing and makes it impossible to verify the caption, which says next to nothing. How do we know this is Mir? JustinTime55 (talk) 21:45, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Why the Soviets used an airlock[edit]

The Soviet Union didn't decide to put an airlock on the Voskhod simply as "another approach to EVA". The Russian way of thinking was to use the simplest possible approach to problems (example: use pencils instead of trying to invent a pen that would work in zero-G.) Complications were generally forced upon them because of the limits of their know-how and economic resources. I'm sure they would have preferred to be able to dump the cabin air and open a simpler hatch, but their electronics produced a high level of heat which would destroy them in a vacuum, unlike those on the US Gemini. This is what forced them to use the airlock, which was cumbersome and potentially dangerous (Leonov almost didn't make it back in.) The two-flight Voskhod program in total was a fiasco which Khruschev forced on Korolev, who rather wanted to work on his Soyuz, a real multi-man spacecraft. Khruschev's motivation was purely political, to beat the Americans to "firsts". This is not bias, just simple fact. If you think this needs a citation (it admittedly could use one), fine, tag it, or add one (I think this might be in Walking to Olympus), but don't just remove it. JustinTime55 (talk) 15:10, 10 February 2014 (UTC)


"Extravehicular" is one word, according to Merriam-Webster. [1]. Why are we spelling it with a hyphen? Extravascular, extracellular, extracurricular, extrasensory ... none of these constructions are spelled with a hyphen. I would also point us to Extravehicular Mobility Unit.--Tenebrae (talk) 02:07, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

I agree; it's long been recognized as a single word and there's absolutely no excuse for keeping the hyphen. I'm in favor of moving it. JustinTime55 (talk) 13:06, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
It looks like someone moved it to add the hyphen in February 2004, so there's already a redirect with the proper name. I just requested a technical move; we'll see what happens. JustinTime55 (talk) 16:26, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Footnote for an item above[edit]

  1. ^ "Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronographs".  Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |accessmonthday= ignored (help)

"It is not to be confused with Exploits Valley Air Services."[edit]

This is stupid. Removing. Skimpburger (talk) 02:02, 16 December 2015 (UTC)

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