TODAY

TODAY   |  December 24, 2013

Former astronaut describes difficulty of spacewalks

AS NASA prepares to finish repairs at the International Space Station with a second spacewalk, former NASA astronaut Stephen Robinson described what it’s like to head out into space.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> walks. you're the perfect person to talk to this morning.

>> good morning. happy christmas to you.

>> you too. these astronauts are swapping out a part but things are very complicated in space. what's the degree of difficulty for this mission today?

>> well, like most things in space. if it goes great it's going to be simple and get done early. the problem is things don't always go that simply up there and there's one particular aspect of this job today which is hooking up ammonia lines. big thick hoses of ammonia to be plugged in. they require a gentle touch and fair amount of force. they have to be done exactly right to not spill ammonia and get them done on time.

>> how tricky is it to maneuver when you're in a space suit like that? i can't imagine it's easy to do and it must be rather strenuous on the body.

>> it's very strenuous, you're in a balloon. imagine doing this. imagine putting on your wet suit , a sleeping bag , your ski clothes and the biggest thickest oven mitts you have and hiking boots and getting up on your roof in the winter at night and fixi fixing a watch while everybody watches on live tv .

>> this is their second space walk in a matter of a couple of days. does that put them at an advantage because they know each other and they know the lay of the land .

>> that's right. they have a home team advantage here. they work together and know what goes well together. they communicate well together. you saw what happened last time. the space walk was so efficient and looked great. we're looking forward to a good one today.

>> i hope they can high five each other at the end. thank you so much.

>> thank you.

>> we'll have live coverage of the space walk as it unfolds throughout the morning.