I've just read in the New Jersey Herald:

Two new arrivals at the International Space Station went spacewalking Thursday less than a week after moving in.

NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold quickly installed new wireless antennas and removed leaky jumper hoses from a radiator.

Is this an unusually short interval between reaching the ISS and doing a space walk? What is the shortest interval so far for astronauts from the ISS?

edit: Based on comments I should clarify that I'm only asking about astronauts who travelled to the ISS to live on the ISS, and spacewalks staged from the ISS rather than spacewalks from the shuttle to work on the ISS.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you including early assembly flights to the proto-ISS such as STS-88 where the EVAs were staged from the shuttle? Maybe you mean just long duration crewmembers? For something that had such a long and "punctuated equilibrium" evolution, it's not so easy to answer this. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble This is a great point, thanks! I'll revise the question to better indicate that I mean those by astronauts living on the ISS. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ I feel like this would be easy to answer, it would just be tedious going down the list of spacewalks. $\endgroup$
    – Phiteros
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 2:57
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Nah, all it required to answer was 2 monitors, a Wikipedia page on each, and no sense of what's a valuable investment of time. $\endgroup$
    – Phiteros
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 3:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Phiteros two monitors? okay, then two follow-ups! 1, 2 $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 4:10

1 Answer 1


After cross-comparing the Wikipedia List of Spacewalks (split into several pages) and the List of International Space Station expeditions, I have discovered the following:

Timothy Kopra, on Expedition 46, arrived at the ISS on December 15, 2015 at 17:33:29 (all times UTC). He then conducted a spacewalk at December 21, 2015 at 13:45. That's 5 days, 6 hours, and 27 minutes after arrival.

Andrew Feustel and Richard Arnold (Expedition 55) arrived at the ISS on March 23, 2018 at 20:40. Their spacewalk was conducted on March 29, 2018, at 13:33 (Fairly certain I did the time conversions correctly). That puts them at 5 days, 16 hours, and 53 minutes after arrival.

That means that Timothy Kopra holds the record for soonest spacewalk after arrival, by 10 hours and 26 minutes.

Expedition 22 and Expedition 35 both had spacewalks where cosmonauts went out just under a month after arrival, but those were the next soonest. Other than that, it was at least a month between arrival and going on a spacewalk.

As Organic Marble pointed out, James Voss and Susan Helms conducted a spacewalk on 11 March 2001 at 05:12 UTC, after docking on 10 March 2001, 06:38 UTC. That puts their spacewalk less than 24 hours after arriving at the ISS. However, this spacewalk was nominally part of STS-102 rather than Expedition 2, and the astronauts conducted the spacewalk from the Space Shuttle rather than the ISS. So within the framework of the question ("spacewalks staged from the ISS"), it technically doesn't count. Just a technicality, though.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for taking the time to go through the lists, I appreciate your perseverance in the face of tedium! Based on this, I've asked the follow-up Are there rules, policies, or guidelines regarding spacewalking soon after launch? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 3:52
  • $\begingroup$ Have also just asked Special circumstances leading to these astronauts' spacewalking 5 days after arrival at the ISS? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 4:05
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    $\begingroup$ There is information in this article which calls this answer into question. americaspace.com/2015/12/19/… See the info on Exp.2. May be a criteria thing, I did not look at details. It says 3 days after launch for Exp 2. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ It looks like (at)Organic did you a big favor! It might be good to edit this and maybe even add some of that article here verbatim as a block quote. As I'd mentioned here, "...there may have been an unusual, notable situation where the turn-around time (in one door, out the other) was particularly short. Let's wait an see..." $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Yeah, it looks like that spacewalk was nominally a part of STS-102, rather than Expedition 2. It appears that, although they were docked with the ISS, this spacewalk was conducted from the Space Shuttle. I guess it's up to you to decide whether or not that's within the criteria of your question. I'll edit my answer anyways. $\endgroup$
    – Phiteros
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 19:19

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