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The first space walk.

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As the astronauts on the international space station have completed two EVA's to replace a pump, the thoughts of a young Springfield boy come to mind. Ed White was the first American to walk in space in 1967 and was followed by many others. A Christian boy that was infatuated with astronauts and the space program may have been unusual in the sixties, but is still interested today.

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Michael Hopkins and Richard Mastracchio had removed a problem pump last Saturday and had to install a new pump. NASA had scheduled Ed White to make the first extra vehicular activity (EVA) in the Gemini 4 1964. EVA's were originally planned to prepare astronauts for the depressurizing necessary after landing on the moon. Without being able to open the lunar excursion module (LEM) door, no moonwalk would have been possible.

White was to have been on the original Apollo flight but died with Roger Chaffee and Gus Grissom in the cabin fire on Apollo I in 1967. Grissom was one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts and made two previous flights, The second Mercury flight and Gemini 3 trip made him the first astronaut to travel into space more than once. Chaffee would have made his first space flight on Apollo I.

Remembering the tragedy of Ed's death also reminds your Examiner of two other spacewalks to repair the Hubbell Space Telescope on Christmas Eve in 1997 by Michael Foale, Claude Nicollier, Steven Smith and John Grunsfeld. There was another Christmas Eve when Apollo 8 astronauts greeted their audience by reading the Bible as they orbited the moon in 1968. Bill Anders, Jim Lovell and Frank Borman were the crew on that flight. Lovell was also the commander of the ill fated Apollo 13. Thanks to the ISS crew for their heroic work and reminding us of other heroes and their adventures in space.




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