NASA has announced that on July 21, Italian astronaut Samantha Christophoretti will do a spacewalk. She will be the first European woman.
Credit: Samantha Christophoretti / ESA / Twitter
In about three weeks, on Thursday, July 21, Samantha Christophoreti will do her first spacewalk. She will be the first European woman to face one. The mission of the International Space Station (ISS), technically defined extravagant activity or EVA (acronym of extra-vehicular activity), is preceded by NASA dedicated pages on events that are clearly transliterated ” American. The latest update raises concerns about the Christophorette spacewalk, which will leave the ISS hatch at 4:00 pm Italian time. The event can therefore be followed by live streaming.
At the moment, virtually all details of what the European Space Agency (ESA) Italian astronaut has to do are missing; It is not clear if he will be engaged in maintaining, repairing or replacing any components of the orbiting lab, but NASA said the operation could take up to 7 hours. Another interesting fact is that the travel companion is related to Oleg Artemiev, the Russian astronaut of ROSCOMOS (Russian space agency). This is undoubtedly a positive sign in light of the serious international crisis caused by the war in Ukraine and the growing tensions between the Kremlin and NATO bloc countries. Despite the friction of the last few weeks, cooperation in the ISS still seems to be going on without any particular problems.
At the time of release, Samantha Christophoreti will be wearing a Russian “Orlan” spacesuit and not the EMU that NASA and ESA astronauts wear regularly. The main reason undoubtedly lies in the fact that in 2021 the Italian astronaut trained in Russia with the Orlan suit. Also, since the end of May, European and American space agencies have decided to suspend the spacewalk with the EMU due to an error in the water accumulation inside the helmet. In 2013, Italian astronaut Luca Permitano had a serious accident in which about 1.5 liters of water entered his helmet; He was in serious danger of drowning and had to return to the ISS as soon as possible. Other events have happened more recently; The last blow was to ESA astronaut Matthias Maure, who had 25 centimeters of water inside his helmet. Despite NASA applying “patches” like sponges to absorb water, problems persisted and so it was decided to suspend EVAs and send the suits back to Earth for thorough testing. The space suites are so valuable that the total cost of the new ones to explore the moon will be 1 billion; Delays in their design also affected the suspension of the Artemis program.
With the Orlan suite, Samantha Christopherty will not naturally face such problems and the commander of the Russian module of the ISS will be able to perform her mission with her colleague Artemiev. The Italian astronaut was supposed to be the first European commander of the entire International Space Station, but he could no longer play this prestigious role due to a ‘change of plan’ (probably related to the crisis in Ukraine). However, it is currently operated by USOS, the American division of the Orbital Laboratory which also includes ESA, Japan and Canada modules. At the moment, Christopherty Spacewalk has only been confirmed by an update on the NASA website, no specific details are missing, so it cannot be ruled out that program changes are planned. All that remains is to wait for official contact from the ESA or the person directly involved, who recently took a great picture of Italy from space.