Angela said it was exciting for her son because not every astronaut gets to do a spacewalk, especially so early into a mission. “It’s the pinnacle of being an astronaut to do an EVA,” she said. “We are absolutely thrilled that everyone is so excited, this is a proud day.”
Peake’s wife, Rebecca, thanked him for “taking our two boys into the vacuum of space”, a nod to a photograph of their young sons that she noticed strapped to his left arm.
Peake blasted off to the International Space Station from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on 15 December. He is not due to return to Earth until June.
Perched at one end of the space station, Peake and Kopra removed and replaced the faulty power unit with ease. But as the astronauts set about their secondary tasks, Kopra noticed an abnormal carbon dioxide reading on his spacesuit, and then a minor tear in one of his gloves. The high carbon dioxide reading was blamed on a faulty sensor.
Kopra had just finished his second task, to fit a valve on another section of the space station, when he noticed a ball of water in his helmet. The apparent leak led to the swift decision by Nasa’s Royce Renfrew, in line with flight rules, to end the spacewalk and both astronauts were ordered back inside.
Safe inside the station, Kopra was found to be damp across his shoulders, with 15mls of water in his helmet. That will now be analysed for material that may reveal the source of the leak. As Kopra went to dry himself off, Scott Kelly, the station commander, helped Peake out of his spacesuit. His spacewalk might have ended early, but Peake was grinning from ear to ear.
Despite having to return early Peake said he would never forget his “exhilarating” first walk in space as he posted a space selfie of his historic feat.
His tweet, which received hundreds of retweets within minutes, was accompanied with three photos including a selfie showing his camera in the reflection of his helmet.