Do astronauts pee in space? Questions from David Saint-Jacques’s first spacewalk

Story by CBC Kids News • 2019-04-10 16:06

Kids invited to ask questions on Twitter

While most Canadian kids were going about their regular business on Monday, David Saint-Jacques was floating in space high above them.

It was the Canadian astronaut’s first spacewalk since he blasted off to the International Space Station (ISS) in December.

Even though it’s called a spacewalk, there isn’t much walking involved — it’s more hanging and floating.

Saint-Jacques, along with NASA astronaut Anne McClain, spent six 1/2 hours there.

An astronaut is seen floating in space beside a large space station.

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, centre left, works outside the International Space Station on Monday. (NASA via AP)

“What a privilege,” Saint-Jacques said following the spacewalk.

Questions answered

The spacewalk was broadcast online and members of the public, including kids, were invited to ask questions on Twitter by using #AskNASA, like how astronauts pee during a spacewalk.

Some of the questions were answered during the spacewalk. CBC Kids News asked NASA to answer some questions that they didn’t get to during the broadcast.

‘Difficult and dangerous task’

The Canadian Space Agency says a spacewalk is “one of the most difficult and dangerous tasks for the astronauts who work on board the ISS.”

The purpose of the spacewalk is to repair or install equipment or do work that only human hands can do.

The astronauts wear head cameras and are communicating with mission control in Houston the entire time.

Saint-Jacques talked about how much he appreciated the teamwork throughout the process.

David Saint-Jacques, left, spent six 1/2  hours in space during his first-ever spacewalk. (NASA)

“Space has the ability to bring about the best in people,” he said. “It forces us to work together to find solutions.”

Cameras on the ISS allow the NASA team on the ground to follow along and guide the astronauts.

“When we want to, we can perform miracles,” he said.

Saint-Jacques and McClain wore a special spacesuit for the mission and were securely tethered to the ISS with cables in case of an accidental separation.

But things went smoothly for both astronauts.

Saint-Jacques is the fourth Canadian to complete a spacewalk.


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