Houston, Texas (JFK+50) Fifty years ago today, June 3, 1965, Major Edward H. White II* became the first American astronaut to walk in space.
White followed Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei A. Leonov who became the first man to walk in space earlier in March. White was attached to his Gemini IV spacecraft by a 25 foot umbilical cord and a 23 foot tether line. Both lines were wrapped in gold tape.
Ed White was able to control his movements in zero gravity with an oxygen jet propulsion system known as a Hand-held Maneuvering Unit.
The first American space walk lasted more than 20 minutes.
Major White died on January 27, 1967 along with Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee when, as they were doing testing on the launch pad, an uncontrollable flash fire broke out in the cabin.
*Edward Higgins White II (1930-1967) was born in San Antonio, TX. His father was a career officer in the USAF. EHW received his BS from the United States Military Academy and his MS from the University of Michigan.
EHW flew F-86s & F-100s in Germany for 3.5 years. He was selected as a astronaut in September 1962 and received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the USAF Senior Astronaut Wings for his flight & space walk of June 1965.
"Edward White: First American Spacewalker," March 23, 2008, www.nasa.gov/
"Edward Higgins White II," NASA, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, www.jsc-nasa.gov/
"The Official Site of Edward White II," www.cmgww.com/