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Extra Vehicular Activities

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Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth (a spacewalk) but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon (a moonwalk). In the later lunar landing missions the command module pilot did an EVA to retrieve film canisters on the return trip.

Due to the different designs of the early spacecraft, the American and Soviet space programs also define an EVA differently. Russians define an EVA as occurring when a cosmonaut is in a vacuum. An American astronaut EVA begins when the astronaut switches the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) to battery power. The term stand-up EVA (SEVA) is used for being partly outside.

EVAs may be either tethered (the astronaut is connected to the spacecraft, oxygen can be supplied through a tube, no propulsion is needed to return to the spacecraft) or untethered. When the tether performs life support functions such as providing oxygen, it is called an umbilical. For untethered EVAs during space flight, capability of returning to the spacecraft is essential; see Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) and Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER).

Text: EVA Wiki