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What the first human spacewalk without insurance looked like: historical video

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Since ancient times, mankind has dreamed of space, contemplating the stars and distant planets. When the dream of an unattainable space came true, every astronaut dreamed of doing something there that others could not. Are there so many options? Yuri Gagarin was the first to fly into space, Neil Armstrong was the first to set foot on the moon… but what else?

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In 1984, NASA found the answer and for the first time in history they sent their astronaut on a free walk through space and without any insurance. GLOBAL HAPPENINGS tells the story of Bruce McCandless’ courageous act (to watch the video, make the news to the end).

McCandless, born June 8, 1937, was a military hereditary. His father was an admiral, and his grandfather was a commander. But young Bruce was attracted by the sky and the vast expanse of space.

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“When I was growing up, we didn’t have astronauts. But we had comics – Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, people of that type. When I told my parents that I wanted to fly like Buck Rogers, they answered: “Well, maybe a man someday it will fly into space, but certainly not before the year 2000. Why don’t you go down to Earth and do something practical, like learning how to fly a battleship or something like that,” McCandless recalled childhood during a speech in 2015.

Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon

He descended to Earth and went to study at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis (Maryland) and at the age of 23 he was appointed a naval pilot. He was also a fighter pilot and, for a short time, a pilot instructor in the US Navy.

He subsequently earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University, California, and at the age of 50, another master’s degree in business administration from the University of Houston.

However, he received the greatest fame at NASA, where he ended up as an astronaut candidate in 1966.

In 1971 he was a member of the support crew for the Apollo 14 mission, and two years later he was a reserve pilot for Skylab 2.

McCandless was also one of the main designers of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU): a kind of rocket-powered backpack that an astronaut wore during space shuttle rides. It was this invention in 1984 that inscribed his name in the space history of mankind.

NASA MMU prototypes

Prior to this, NASA had developed other concepts for such modules, but they all did not work correctly: they were either too heavy or too hot.

One leg is here, the other is there

In February 1984, McCandless made his first flight as an STS-41-B mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. During this flight, he tested the MMU during a spacewalk and became the first person to fly into space without a safety tether to connect to a spacecraft.

On February 7, 1984, during his space trip, McCandless flew almost 100 meters away from the shuttle. When he contacted Mission Control to report on MMU’s performance, he joked about the moon landing: “It may have been a small step for Neil (Armstrong), but a hell of a big leap for me.”

Subsequently, he admitted that he thought over this phrase in advance, because he was jokingly offended by Armstrong that he did not share his emotions about landing on the moon with him, and also believed that the joke would set the right mood for an exciting moment.

And there really was something to worry about, because the USA and the USSR were in a state of the so-called space chase and it was unacceptable to make a mistake. Moreover, the whole world was watching the flight.

“Immediately after my (flight) from the MMU, I was surprised that the French called it the ‘flying chair’, in reference to the first man-made rocket-powered experiment, which I was told had been carried out by the Chinese emperor at the beginning of the first millennium AD,” the astronaut later said, referring to the legend of the Chinese scientist Wang Hu, who lived in the 15th-16th centuries.

According to legend, Wang Hu wanted to fly to the moon. To do this, he took a large wicker chair, to which 47 large rockets were attached. When the assistants of the scientist simultaneously set fire to all the rockets and ran away, there was a terrible roar, followed by huge clouds of smoke. When the smoke cleared, Wang Hu’s assistants saw that the chair and the scholar had disappeared.

The legend of Wang Hu who flew to the moon

Fortunately for McCandless, he lived in the 20th century, which was much more developed, so that neither smoke nor roar accompanied his flight. However, his act was very brave.

The space flight was photographed by another member of the mission, astronaut Robert Gibson, who shot McCandless against the background of the Earth. Spectacular photo has become one of the symbols of the NASA space program.

Bruce McCandles during a free flight in space on February 7, 1984

“I actually pulled the sun visor down for no specific reason other than to keep the sun out of my eyes, so it could have been anyone. And I think that’s part of the attraction. I think it’s fair to say that I was amazed at the number of different people who came up to me and said, “Hey, I have your photo hanging in my bedroom.” It really became a landmark for the space program, and in a way, it seems to represent the embodiment of humanity’s desire to free itself from gravity and have the ability to fly in space,” McCandless said in an interview with National Geographic.

This is how McCandless saw the shuttle during his space walk

Speaking about the emotions from that flight, the astronaut admitted that he most of all … froze during his mission, since the spacesuits were designed in such a way that the astronauts did not get hot during hard physical work, and the MMU was controlled by the movement of the fingers, so the body did not produce any one extra. heat. However, McCandles admits that it was fun.

“Yes, it was fun. But I’ll tell you, I thought there would be an unearthly silence, and I was wrong. I had a radio connection, and three different people were talking to me … It was not at all quiet and calm,” he said .

In addition to the space walk, the mission launched two communications satellites into orbit and successfully returned to Earth on February 11, 1984.

Six years later, McCandless again became a member of the space mission, launched on the shuttle Discovery. Then the Gabble telescope was launched into space, whose pictures will later be admired by all of humanity.

After NASA, McCandles worked for the Martin Marietta Corporation and was a Senior Scientist at Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

He passed away at the age of 80 on December 21, 2017.

Earlier, GLOBAL HAPPENINGS also talked about what sex in space can be like and what changes humanity should prepare for.

Source: Obozrevatel

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