Video: Experiencing a spacewalk

msnbc.com
updated 7/14/2005 4:25:15 PM ET 2005-07-14T20:25:15

While in space, the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to perform three space walks to inspect the shuttle and restore power to a gyroscope at the International Space Station.

Dr. Dave Wolf, a NASA astronaut and instructor who has logged 143 days in space, including two shuttle missions and a stay on the Russian Space Station Mir, joined MSNBC Live on Wednesday morning to discuss the Discovery mission and the experience of walking in space.

To read an excerpt of the conversation between Willow Bay and Dr. Wolf, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

Willow Bay: Could you put into words, what that feeling is like of walking in space?

Dr. Dave Wolf:  It is a spectacular feeling.  It's hard to move in the space suit against the pressure of the suit.  It's a lot of work.  You're busy, maybe 6-and-a-half, 7 hours out on the space walk.

The view is spectacular.  It's the ultimate experience.

Bay:  Now can you describe your very first walk for us?  They don't call these space walks though, (but) EVAs (Extra-Vehicular Activity).  What do you remember about it?

Wolf:  My first one was from the Russian Space Station, Mir in a Russian space suit, going out at night in an unlit spacecraft to repair damage and it was spectacular and then daytime hit and I could see this whole Earth lit up below and you could see how high up you were, 250 miles or more.  It's amazing holding on with your fingers and looking down that far.

These guys are real ready.  They're top-notch spacewalkers and their ready to go.

Bay:  Tell us a little bit about that.  As you say there's some serious business going on as spectacular as it is.  Tell us a little about their mission, what they'll be doing and how challenging it is?

Wolf:  The primary objective of this mission is to verify the repairs we made on the external fuel tank to prevent debris from hitting the shuttle on launch and that they have been in fact successful.  

We'll verify that with various forms of imagery.  We're also out fitting the space station with more space equipment externally, repairing a large gyroscope outside on the thrust and doing research and development on thermal protection system repair techniques for future missions.

Bay:  When you teach astronauts how to go out on these space walks.  What's the single most important piece of advice you give them?

Wolf:  I usually say there's three important (things). That's position, position, position. 


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