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Historic spacewalk: LBS alumnus leads repair mission

15 Jan 2016

Tim Kopra, LBS alumnus and NASA astronaut, prepares to leave the International Space Station (ISS)

Tim Kopra

Colonel Tim Kopra, an Executive MBA graduate from London Business School (EMBA-Global 2013), will today walk in space on a six-and-a-half-hour mission to repair a broken power unit.

Tim, representing NASA, will be joined by Major Tim Peake, European Space Agency (ESA), and the first Briton to walk in space.

The astronauts will leave the International Space Station at 12:55 GMT today. Colonel Kopra will lead the physically demanding mission which the ESA has described as “minutely choreographed”.

The pair will fix a power unit, known as a Sequential Shunt Unit, on the furthest point of the International Space Station. To avoid sparks from the solar panel, they will face a race against the clock to repair the unit in short periods of darkness as the space station orbits the Earth. They will also lay cables for new docking ports.

Colonel Kopra’s preparation for the space mission included underwater training in spacesuits to prepare for weightlessness, and food-tasting sessions to prepare him for eating in space.

He first went into Space on an International Space Mission in 2009. On completing the mission he said: “Being commander of the space station presents a very interesting leadership challenge because, while you have a very small group of people on board, there is an enormous infrastructure on the ground that is working toward helping you succeed and getting the mission accomplished. That’s a very unique and interesting leadership challenge because it is largely based on communication and good relationships. That was a theme that we heard over and over again in the case studies at the School.”

Watch the spacewalk live on Sky News from 11:30 GMT.

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