Which Of These Astronauts Performed The First Untethered Spacewalk?
Answer: Bruce McCandless II
It might not be as high profile as the first step on the Moon, but U.S. astronaut Bruce McCandless earned a very special place in history by making the first untethered spacewalk—the first time a human being had ever drifted freely from their spacecraft in the cold vacuum of space.
In 1984, while participating in the tenth NASA Space Shuttle Mission, STS-41-B, McCandless took NASA’s Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) out for the first time. Over the course of the 5 hour and 55 minute spacewalk, McCandless maneuvered around the orbiting shuttle, reaching a maximum distance of 320 feet (98 meters) from the craft.
While McCandless might not have become a household name in the same fashion as Buzz Aldrin, his likeness certainly achieved quite a bit of fame. The image of him floating freely above the Earth, seen here, has appeared in textbooks, on posters, and on space-related paraphernalia like calendars and t-shirts ever since.