Feb 8, 2024, 02:01 PM IST
On February 3, 1984, 40 years ago, Space Shuttle Challenger embarked on its fourth mission where two NASA astronauts became the first to perform a spacewalk without the benefit of a tether.
The mission crew consisted of commander Vance Brand, pilot Robert Gibson (sitting up front), and mission specialists Robert Stewart, Ronald McNair, and Bruce McCandless II (back row).
Using Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) for the first time, Bruce McCandless ventured into the emptiness of space without any tether. Robert Gibson captured this iconic image which has become one of NASA's most requested photos.
“It may have been one small step for Neil but it’s a heck of a big leap for me," quipped McCandless as he ventured in the vast emptiness of space, referring to Neil Armstrong's famous quote.
In this photo, McCandless can be seen taking a stroll along Challenger’s payload bay using Manipulator Foot Restraint (MFR) and Remote Manipulator System (RMS), together known as the “cherry picker".
Robert Stewart also tested out the MMU during the mission. The photo above shows the NASA astronaut gliding several feet above the Shuttle’s cargo bay.
Returning the favor, McCandless captured this stunning view of Challenger, showing the Shuttle from his perspective.
Challenger returned home on February 11, following a successful mission. However, NASA never deployed the tether-less system as it found better alternatives.