Breathtaking images of the first untethered spacewalk mark the 40th anniversary of this daring feat

Breathtaking images of the first untethered spacewalk mark the 40th anniversary of this daring feat

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Stunning images of the first untethered spacewalk mark the 40th anniversary of this daring feat.

Bruce McCandless II was the first man to make a nerve-wracking journey through space without any attachment to a spacecraft on February 7, 1984.

The intrepid astronaut used the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) to control his movements instead of being attached to the Challenger shuttle.

The image of McCandless floating in space 320 feet from the shuttle has become one of NASA’s most iconic archival pieces.

The mission included two untethered spacewalks, which proved to be the “most significant” for NASA, according to a press release.

Bruce McCandless II was the first man to make a nerve-wracking journey through space without any attachment to a spacecraft on February 7, 1984. NASA/SWNS
The intrepid astronaut used the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) to control his movements instead of being attached to the Challenger shuttle. NASA/SWNS

During McCandless and Robert Stewart’s spacewalk, which occurred on days four and five of the eight-day mission, the crew reduced the shuttle’s cabin pressure from 14.7 pounds per square inch to 10.2 to reduce the time the astronauts needed to pre-breathe pure oxygen and expend their energy. Blood from excess nitrogen. Too much nitrogen can lead to “bends when working in their spacesuits at 4.3 psi,” according to NASA.

The next day, McCandless and Stewart will perform another spacewalk.

“This may have been a small step for Neil, but it was a big leap for me,” McCandless joked.

McCandless then floated 150 feet from the shuttle before returning, then exiting 320 feet and then returning safely again. Stewart followed the same procedures.

Space Shuttle Challenger. NASA/SWNS
The image of McCandless floating in space 320 feet from the shuttle has become one of NASA’s most iconic archival pieces. NASA/SWNS
McCandless floated 150 feet from the shuttle before returning, then exiting 320 feet and then safely returning to the shuttle. Robert Stewart followed the same procedures. NASA/SWNS
Despite the extraordinary achievement, scientists were concerned about the MMU. NASA/SWNS

NASA said: “The two astronauts completed their spacewalk after 5 hours and 55 minutes.”

The mission also saw McCandless “flyby” the spaceship, using the first “cherry picker” in space, a combined configuration of the Movable Foot Restraint (MFR) and Remote Manipulator System (RMS).

Despite the extraordinary achievement, scientists were concerned about the MMU.

Stewart and McCandless (both pictured in white) used the MMU on the mission. This was McCandless’s first mission into space, although he had served as an astronaut since his selection in 1966, according to the space company. NASA/SWNS

“Many at the agency were afraid to use a self-propelled, untethered backpack in space,” said Jennifer Ross-Nazzal, a historian of human spaceflight at NASA.

“Previous astronauts remained attached to the vehicle using tethers. This jet pack allowed crews to move outside the cargo area and perform activities away from the safety of the spacecraft.

This was McCandless’s first mission into space, although he had served as an astronaut since his selection in 1966, according to the space company.

Help develop MMU. He also helped create the Astronaut Maneuvering Unit, the predecessor to the MMU, within Skylab.

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