This Day in History: Svetlana Savitskaya’s Space Walk

30 years ago today, Svetlana Savitskaya was welding metal in space. In the temperate outer space climate of minus 455 degrees fahrenheit, Svetlana tested and repaired parts of the Salyut 7 space station in her red-striped spacesuit. In 1984, she was the second woman to be in space at all and the first to perform extra-vehicular activity. She worked for 3 hours and 35 minutes, standing on the edge of (and tethered to) the space station with her colleague Vladimir Dzhanibekov.

Savitzkaya was given two Hero of the Soviet Union awards, and has two asteroids named after her. This quote makes us like her even more:

“When watching the Earth from over there, one can see the results of human activities, not just a beautiful bluish habitable planet, but because one can see just how habitable it is, with all of its floodlit streets and avenues, and its huge cities. One can see this both at night and in the daytime.

And secondly, anyone over there, in orbit, should give, and actually gives, a thought to the fact that they are at an average altitude of 400 kilometres, aboard a space station or a spacecraft that have been manufactured by human mind and human civilization, so one can’t help but feel proud of them. One realizes that this planet is their home. One may even land on water, somewhere in the world Ocean, still the planet is their home. One has a natural psychological wish to return to earth, to their home. When in orbit, one thinks of the whole of the earth, rather than of one’s country, as one’s home.”

Imagine seeing the whole earth from that far away! See Mae Jemison’s view from space: