Cover of LIFE: the first US spacewalk of Ed White over the Earth

Space Mission
Lunar Orbiter II, 24 November 1966


Photo Description
Vintage gelatin silver prints on fibre-based Kodak paper, 20.5 x 25.3 cm (10 x 8 in), with NASA captions on verso

Astronaut Edward H. White II, Pilot of the Gemini IV four-day Earth-orbital mission, floats in the zero gravity of space outside the Gemini IV spacecraft. White wears a specially designed spacesuit; and the visor of the helmet is gold plated to protect him against the unfiltered rays of the Sun. He wears an emergency oxygen pack, also. He is secured to the spacecraft by a 25-feet umbilical line and a 23-feet tether line, both wrapped in gold tape to form one cord. In his right hand is a Hand-Held Self-Maneuvering Unit (HHSMU) with which he controls his movements in space. Astronaut James A. McDivitt, Command Pilot of the mission, remained inside the spacecraft.

“Within days of splashdown, McDivitt’s pictures appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world, marking a turning point in the role photography played in the space program and in the popular conception of manned space exploration.”
(Schick and Van Haaften, pg. 13)

“I wasn’t the only one who felt the power of those images from space. Countless people saw them and understood their basic message: this was the edge of human experience.”
—Space historian Andrew Chaikin (Chaikin, Space, pg. 12)”