Backyard Observatory

You Can Watch Astronauts do a Spacewalk Live on the Space Station

Two NASA astronauts are going to work out in space.

NASA spacewalk stream
Courtesy of NASA

When I have a couple of beers and tell you I'd totally go to space, it's not enthusiasm for that adrenaline-fueled rocket launch. The reason I'd want to go -- I suspect I'm not alone -- is a combination of the pretty okay views and the experience of being weightless. The latter point could be fulfilled by bouncing around on the moon like you're wearing the moon boots Nickelodeon always advertised in the 90s or by getting to do a tethered spacewalk. 

Well, I'm not heading to the International Space Station (ISS) anytime soon, even if SpaceX and NASA have reignited space flight from the US. However, it is possible to watch a spacewalk. NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken will be going outside the ISS on both Friday, June 26, and Wednesday, July 1. They'll be replacing batteries on one of the power channels for the Space Station, and NASA TV will broadcast both events. 

The broadcast for both spacewalks will start at 6am EDT, and the walk itself will begin around 7:35am. The announcement from NASA says each spacewalk could last for as long as seven hours. So, you've got plenty of time to tune in and see astronauts working on the ISS without the heightened drama that comes with seeing the same thing in a film about space.

The astronauts will "replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for one of two power channels on the far starboard tress (S6 Truss) of the station with new lithium-ion batteries that arrived to the station on a Japanese cargo ship last month," the announcement states. "The battery replacement work is the culmination of power upgrade spacewalks that began in January 2017."

When you tune in, Cassidy will be referred to as extravehicular crew member 1, wearing red stripes. Behnken will be extravehicular crew member 2 in a spacesuit with no stripes. Each of the astronauts will be participating in their seventh and eighth spacewalks on these missions. Unless you're one of a very small number of people on the planet, you're probably still at zero spacewalks so far. But ... maybe? ... someday?

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.