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British Astronaut Tim Peake Has Completed His First Spacewalk

He said it was a "privilege" to wear the union flag on his spacesuit as he exited the airlock. The spacewalk was terminated early after Peake's crewmate reported a small amount of water in his helmet.

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Updated on

Today British astronaut Tim Peake did his first spacewalk.

Instagram: @astro_timpeake

He was accompanied by NASA astronaut Tim Kopra.

As Peake emerged from the airlock into space, International Space Station (ISS) commander Scott Kelly said: “Tim, it’s really cool to see that union jack go out. It’s explored all over the world, now it’s explored space.”

“It’s great to be wearing it," Peake replied. "It's a privilege."

The astronauts' spacewalk began at 12:48pm GMT today, and officially ended at 5:31pm after Kopra reported water inside his helmet.


The spacewalk was due to last for six and a half hours, but mission control decided to end it early when Kopra reported a small water bubble inside his helmet just before 5pm.

Both astronauts are now safely back inside the ISS.

Peake and Kopra completed their main task, which was to replace a power unit that failed in November.

The Sequential Shunt Unit is replaced and sending data to ground control. Main task for #spacewalk complete!

They did this when the ISS was in darkness, to avoid the risk of high-voltage sparks.

According to ground control, the replacement part worked and the station is back to full power.


But when Kopra reported water inside his helmet, the spacewalk was cut short.

A commentator on NASA TV stressed that this was not an emergency situation, but was a precautionary measure following a more extreme event in a July 2013 spacewalk, when astronaut Luca Parmitano's helmet filled with water.

During the walk, Peake's wife, Rebecca, tweeted this view from his helmet camera showing a photo of their two sons that was attached to his spacesuit. 😍

@astro_timpeake thank you for taking our boys with you into the vacuum of space 😍🚀🇬🇧👣


After returning to the ISS, Peake tweeted a series of photos, including a spectacular spacewalk selfie.

Today’s exhilarating #spacewalk will be etched in my memory forever – quite an incredible feeling!

Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Kelly Oakes at

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