Space History Photo: White Earth Limb
Astronaut Ed White floats in space with an earth limb behind him during his 1965 mission.
Credit: NASA | James McDivitt

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, Edward H. White II, pilot of the Gemini 4 spacecraft, floats in the zero gravity of space with an earth limb backdrop. The extravehicular activity was performed during the third revolution of the Gemini 4 spacecraft and represents the first time an American has stepped outside the confines of his spacecraft.

White is attached to the spacecraft by a 25-ft. umbilical line and a 23-ft. tether line, both wrapped in gold tape to form one cord. In his right hand White carries a Hand-Held Self-Maneuvering Unit (HHSMU). The visor of his helmet is gold plated to protect him from the unfiltered rays of the sun.

Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).