Astronaut Captures Stunning GoPro Footage During Spacewalk
Walking in space is a kind of slow-motion skydiving. An orbit, after all, is nothing but a free fall — albeit one in which the Earth keeps curving away from you so you never hit ground. And spacewalks are actually much more dangerous than skydiving, what with the risk of a spacesuit failure or a micrometeor hit or a breakaway piece of equipment that may have no weight in space, but has more than enough mass and momentum to crush you flat.
But spacewalks are gorgeous too, as was demonstrated anew on March 24 — and captured here in GoPro video released to TIME from NASA. On what was a Friday morning work day for most people, NASA’s Shane Kimbrough, the current commander of the International Space Station, ventured outside with flight engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, for six and a half hours of manual labor more than 250 mi. (400 km) above the Earth. Their mission was mostly electricians’ work — laying cables and otherwise reconfiguring the station for the arrival of commercial crews sometime in 2018 or 2019. But a wiring job never looked so beautiful.
For Kimbrough, this was the fifth spacewalk; for Pesquet it was the second. Don’t count on it being their last. Once an astronaut has tasted the bliss of free flight in the void of space, it’s hard to resist the urge to go back.