During spacewalks conducted earlier this year, two NASA astronauts one-upped global GoPro thrill-seekers by offering a stunning point-of-view experience of being at the International Space Station.
Astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore were strapped with GoPro cameras during two separate space walks in February — and the hour-long footage provides a breathtaking first-hand view of space, with amazing shots of earth in the backdrop.
Along with general maintenance, Wilmore and Virts were reconfiguring the exterior of the ISS for future arrivals of commercial crew vehicles, according to NASA.
This extravehicular activity (EVA) mission was the second of a three-part spacewalk, which involves optimizing the ISS to better receive visiting vessels.
The space agency noted on their website that the ISS will no longer be using their usual berthing process, which is normally used when attaching cargo vehicles.
“This is because the process of un-berthing takes a long time to complete, since cables and ducting between the visiting spacecraft and the ISS must first be manually disconnected, control boxes installed, hatches closed, and then the visiting spacecraft must be maneuvered away from the station with the robotic arm.”
The primary role of the commercial crew vehicles is to serve as “lifeboats,” and the current berthing ports are not able to support an immediate evacuation, should the need ever arise.
NASA states that the vehicles will instead be attached via a docking process — “whereby the visiting spacecraft flies itself all the way into its docking port and attaches via a capture ring striking a corresponding attachment mechanism.”
Eventually, the space agency wants to use a “taxi” model, whereas the ISS will have two docking ports that would allow for simultaneous visits of commercial crew vehicles.
The captivating video was uploaded by NASA last week, and has since gone viral. Take a moment and watch the full, hour-long GoPro spacewalk below.
[Image via NASA]