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First American Walking In Space, Edward
Photograph - Photograph
On June 3, 1965, Edward H. White II became the first American to step outside his spacecraft and let go, effectively setting himself adrift in the zero gravity of space. For 23 minutes White floated and maneuvered himself around the Gemini 4 spacecraft while logging 6,500 miles during his orbital stroll. White was attached to the spacecraft by a 25 foot umbilical line and a 23 foot tether line, both wrapped in gold tape to form one cord. In his right hand, White carries a Hand Held Self Maneuvering Unit, which is used to move about the weightless environment of space. The visor of his helmet is gold plated to protect him from the unfiltered rays of the sun. The spacewalk, or extravehicular activity (EVA) started at 1945 UT (345 EDT) on the third orbit when White opened his hatch and used the hand-held maneuvering oxygen-jet gun to push himself out of the capsule. The EVA started over the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii and lasted 23 minutes, ending over the Gulf of Mexico. Initially, White propelled himself to the end of the 8 meter tether and back to the spacecraft three times using the hand-held gun. After the first three minutes the fuel ran out and White maneuvered by twisting his body and pulling on the tether. The photographs were taken by Commander James McDivitt.
May 30th, 2013
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