Photographer Spots Astronauts on Spacewalk Outside ISS from Earth

Two astronauts spacewalked out of the International Space Station (ISS), to repair and maintain the structure. Astrophotographer Sebastian Voltmer was able to capture the astronauts from his backyard.

You can see astronauts from Earth outside the ISS

Dr. Voltmer resides in Sankt Wendel (Germany), where Matthias Maurer, one of the astronauts who performed the spacewalk, is also from. Voltmer wanted to capture the ESA astronaut’s spacewalk from Maurer’s home as well as from Earth. He was able to capture the spacewalk using a powerful telescope and a robot-controlled mount.

“I used a C11 EdgeHD telescope with a 10micron GM 2000 HPS mounting. He tells PETAPIXEL that he updated his mount with the most recent coordinates of the space station one day before the ISS passing. “I was able track the really fast ISS with my servo motors.”

Dr. Voltmer demonstrates his ability to track the ISS and take photos in a video he released a few days prior to the scheduled spacewalk.

He says, “I was able take these images of International Space Station (ISS), under the best viewing conditions captured at the hometown of Dr. Matthias Maurer,” he adds. The images have a resolution of around 20 cm. It is clearly visible that the Crew-3 flew with the SpaceX Dragon capsule docked to the ISS.

He told PETAPIXEL that he had taken his winning strategy from the early morning shoot and applied it to the exterior of the station when Maurer was due to be there. This involved updating his mount with the most current coordinates of ISS before the station’s appearance in the sky.

ISS astronauts spacewalk from earth

The incredible moment was captured shortly after sunset. It shows enough detail for Maurer, a robot arm, and the external camera attached to the station’s truss.

“During Raja Chari’s spacewalk, Matthias Maurer and Matthias Maurer saw the International Space Station shortly after sunset under the bright night sky above Germany. This image of the ISS passing was taken March 23, 2022, under clear conditions using my C11 EdgeHD telescope at the home of Dr. Matthias Maurer.” Dr. Voltmer writes on Space Weather.

It is clear to see the SpaceX Dragon capsule that Crew-3 flew with. Matthias Maurer was my friend three years ago when I visited his SpaceStudio (Weltraum-Atelier), in Nohfelden, Germany. It is near Matthias’s hometown.” he adds.

“The initial photo I published highlighted Matthias Maurer’s appearance on the ISS. This version was released immediately on the internet due to time constraints. It went viral while I worked on the final version with the two highlighted astronauts.

ISS astronauts spacewalk from earth

Philip Smith, another ISS photographer created the photo below. He noticed that Dr. Voltmer’s picture also included Chari and Canadarm2, in addition to Mauer.

Dr. Voltmer is clearly thrilled about the capture.

He says, “It’s like I made a unique image.” “It’s the first ground-based photo showing two spacewalkers simultaneously on the ISS.”

Spacewalk by ISS Astronauts to Perform Maintenance

NASA reports that Expedition 66 Flight Engineers Raja Chari (NASA) and Matthias Maurer (ESA) started a spacewalk in order to install hoses on a Raditor Beam Valve module to support temperature regulation on the ISS. Their primary task was to place the electronics and thermal systems on the exterior of the space station.

Chari and Maurer completed their spacewalk six hours, 54 minutes later. This was the 248th spacewalk to support the assembly of the space station. Chari was on her second career spacewalk and Maurer was on his first.

ISS astronauts
Astronauts Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer are pictured replacing an external high-definition camera during a 6-hour 54-minute spacewalk today. | Credit: NASA TV.

In addition to their primary tasks, the two also installed a power and data cable on the Columbus module’s Bartolomeo science platform, replaced an external camera on the station’s truss, and conducted other upgrades to station hardware. The pair deferred a few secondary tasks, such as torque resets and cable routing, to a future spacewalk.

ISS astronauts
Astronaut Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) is pictured on the International Space Station’s truss structure during a spacewalk to install thermal gear and electronics components on the orbiting lab. The space station was 268 miles above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of New Zealand. | Credit: NASA Johnson
Astronaut Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) is pictured on the International Space Station’s truss structure during a spacewalk to install thermal gear and electronics components on the orbiting lab. | Credit: NASA Johnson