This month’s trivia features historic spacewalks and extravehicular activity. Test your knowledge below and check back next week for more trivia on spacewalks!
What mission was the first human spaceflight to have three astronauts conduct an EVA simultaneously?
On May 13, 1992, a record-setting Extravehicular Activity (EVA) was conducted to capture the Intelsat VI satellite, which had been stranded in an unusable orbit since its launch in 1990. It marked the first time three astronauts (Richard Hieb, Thomas Akers, Pierre Thuot) simultaneously conducted a spacewalk. The capture took three attempts, followed by the careful maneuvering of the 4.5 ton communications satellite into the cargo bay of Endeavour. The Intelsat VI satellite was then equipped with a new motor, released, and put into a geosynchronous orbit. The EVA also held the record for the longest spacewalk until the crew of STS-102 broke it in 2001. STS-49 was also the first U.S. orbital flight to feature four spacewalks, the first flight of the shuttle orbiter Endeavour, the first mission to require three rendezvous with an orbiting spacecraft, the first use of a drag chute in a shuttle landing, and marked the first time a live rocket motor was attached to an orbiting satellite. You can see an artifact from this mission (the cradle that carried the booster motor for STS-49’s flight) up close inside shuttle replica Independence’s payload bay in Independence Plaza during your next visit! Read more about this artifact and the historic mission here, and don't forget to check back next week for more fun spaceflight trivia!
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