NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik ventured out on his first spacewalk on Saturday, just hours before his daughter was born 220 miles below.
Waking up early this morning aboard the International Space Station to the song "Butterfly Kisses," mission specialist Bresnik was informed that his wife Rebecca had given birth to daughter Abigail Mae Bresnik at 11:04 pm Saturday EST in Houston, Texas. She weighs six pounds, 13 ounces – Earthside.
It's the second time a baby has been born to an American astronaut during a spaceflight mission. Daddy Bresnik thanked the flight control team and flight surgeon for their support and reported wife and child are "doing well," the space agency said on its website. Baby Abigail Mae is the second child for Randolph and Rebecca Bresnik, who adopted a boy from the Ukraine a year ago.
Bresnik will see his daughter for the first time during a video conference planned later on Sunday, with photos and some video of the baby unlinked to Atlantis as well.
NASA said the astronaut was given the good news through a phone patch from Mission Control and the Houston hospital after he woke up Sunday morning. Bresnik was also connected to the STS-129 flight surgeon during his wife's labor Saturday night through the ISS's IP phone after his spacewalk until he had to go to bed.
Despite clearly having a lot on his mind, Bresnik and fellow astronaut Mike Foreman completed a six-hour spacewalk on Saturday, 3:39 pm EST. The duo finished all their assigned work ahead of schedule, NASA reports, and completed several get-ahead tasks as well. It was Foreman's fifth spacewalk and Bresnik's first.
"We are sending a big thank you to all of the people who have supported NASA and us for this mission and our special occasion," Randy and Rebecca Bresnik said in a statement on NASA's website.
The ISS crew will have a half day off to answer media questions and participate in an education event, then prepare for Monday's third and final spacewalk for the mission. ®