A SPACEWALKING astronaut put aside the impending birth of his daughter and blazed through his first-ever venture outside the International Space Station.
Expectant father Randolph Bresnik and Michael Foreman were so far ahead despite their late start on Saturday and interrupted sleep that their commander handed them extra work.
“Way to kick butt,” said commander Charles Hobaugh, a Marine colonel.
The spacewalkers installed new antennas, relocated a monitor for electrical hazards, set up an attachment for a spectrometer due to arrive next year, and hooked up a wireless video system for spacewalkers’ helmet cameras. Then they released another payload platform.
Bresnik’s wife Rebecca gave birth to their second child, a daughter, on Saturday night back home in Houston. Both mama and baby are doing very well. The couple have a 3-year-old son, adopted from Ukraine.
“The Bresnik launch countdown clock has got some unpredictable and variable holds in it. So it’s very hard to predict. But nothing new for you today,” flight director Brian Smith told reporters eager for details.
The astronauts and Mission Control agreed before Saturday’s spacewalk to hold off on any news if the birth occurred while the men were outside.
Everyone wanted Bresnik, a 42-year-old Marine lieutenant colonel, focused on the spacewalk because of the extra risk posed by working outside. “Absolutely, he was 100 percent focused and I don’t think it was hard for Randy,” Smith said.
“Randy’s a NASA astronaut. He knows how to compartmentalize. Before he was an astronaut, he was a Marine fighter pilot.”
That didn’t stop Bresnik from appreciating the view of Earth.
He was mightily impressed as he started on his work outside.
“Other than seeing my wife for the first time, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful face,” Bresnik said, gazing at the planet 500 kilometers below. “This is amazing.”