You Might as Well be Walking in Space (1960s)

Jan 5, 2023Apollo 11, Astronauts, Communism, Cosmonauts, Kennedy Space Center, Socialism, Space, Space Exploration, World

Ok, you got me. I love our Space Program and am so enthusiastic about it that I’ve got to detail some of the most memorable spacewalks in this article. Here, I will detail the 1960s and then follow up in another article on the next decades and our accomplishments.

The first spacewalk was done in March of 1965, it was a Soviet mission and lasted a mere twelve minutes. ( Alexei Leonov was the astronaut.

Shortly thereafter the U.S. performed a spacewalk aboard the Gemini 4. Astronaut Ed White in June of 1965 spent twenty minutes outside of the spaceship. He found the process exhausting. (

The following year (June 1966) Astronaut Eugene Ceman, aboard  Gemini 9A, was challenged with moving to the rear of the spacecraft to perform work on the propulsion unit. ( He was outside for two hours and seven minutes, which was not quite enough time to complete his project because there was too much heat in his suit and it fogged up his visor. He also had an issue with closing the hatch when he returned to the spacecraft.

A month later (July 1966), astronaut Michael Collins aboard the Gemini 10 performed several duties outside the spacecraft. ( First, he stuck his body outside and snapped some photos before and after sunrise. He noted that it was not an easy task because of the stiffness of his gloves. That was 49 minutes long. The following day, he collected a micro-meteorite sample from outside of the spacecraft using the hand-held maneuvering unit that lasted for thirty-nine minutes total. Two spacewalks for him.

September 1966 astronaut Richard Gordon walked outside of the spacecraft and took pictures. ( That was Gemini 11 and it was two hours and nine minutes in duration.

Buzz Aldrin was the next astronaut to perform a spacewalk of any significance. ( That was November 1966. He completed three tasks while outside for two hours and twenty-nine minutes. He collected samples, took movies and still pictures, and exercised on the first day. On the second day, he deployed and recovered some experimental packages, installed and removed cameras, and used a ratchet-style wrench. He also noted that many of the tasks were mirror images of what they had rehearsed prior to launch. He went out again on the third day. That was a first for all men!

Astronauts, Yevgeny Khrunov and Aleksei Yeliseyev aboard Russian Spacecraft Soyuz 4 and 5 were the first to do a two-man spacewalk. ( That was July 1969. Their walk lasted for thirty-two minutes. They had launched in Soyuz 5 and docked up with Soyuz 4, but they lacked making an internal connection, as such, they went back to earth.

In March 1969 Apollo 9 with astronauts Rusty Schweickert and David Scott went outside of the spacecraft using portable life support systems (PLSS) backpacks. ( Schweickert’s backpack was stand-alone, Scott’s was tethered by an umbilical cord to the spacecraft. They remained outside for 1 hour and seventeen minutes.

Apollo 11 went into space headed for the moon in July of 1969 with astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin aboard. ( This was the most ambitious space flight to date. Buzz was the first to step foot on the moon and Neil shortly thereafter. They remained on the surface of the moon for two and a half hours during which they planted an American Flag, collected moon rock samples, took pictures, deployed the Early Apollo Scientific Experimental Package, and even spoke to President Nixon.

November 1969 launched Apollo 12 also headed to the moon with astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean. ( They were on the surface of the moon for three hours and fifty-six minutes on their first walk during which they erected a solar wind foil, collected some core samples, stowed the contingency samples, deployed the modular equipment stowage assembly and the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. Day two they went about 600 feet to locate the parts of their camera that had been destroyed the day before from the robotic lander, brought back the solar wind foil that had been previously deployed, and collected more samples. This walk was three hours and 49 minutes in duration and the final one made in that decade.

This is part of a series of articles for the various decades of space from inception up until our current time that I plan to highlight here for my loyal readers so please stay tuned for more!


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