The International Space Station
CAPE CANAVERAL (Florida Today) -- A serious water leak inside a spacewalker's helmet
forced NASA to cut short an excursion outside the International Space
European Space Agency astronaut
Luca Parmitano, who last week became the first Italian to walk in space,
reported a build up of water inside his helmet about an hour into an
excursion with U.S. astronaut Chris Cassidy.
The water initially
pooled in the back of Parmitano's helmet, behind his head. But
ultimately the water - which apparently came from Parmitano's drinking
water bag -- floated into his eyes, and flight directors on Mission
Control quickly called an end to the outing.
Parmitano was told
to head back into the U.S. Quest airlock, and Cassidy followed. Once
inside, it appeared the water leak caused the communication system in
Parmitano's suit to fail. He apparently could not hear questions about
"Squeeze my hand if you're fine," Cassidy told Parmitano. "He looks fine. He looks miserable. But he's okay."
astronaut Karen Nyberg and two Russian cosmonauts - Pavel Vinogradov
and Fyodor Yutchikhin, scrambled to remove Parmitano's helmet once he
was back inside the station. They used towel to soak up water blobs that
floated from the helmet.
"Great job getting those guys out of their suits in a timely manner," Mission Control said. "It was a great team effort."
Control asked Nyberg to take photographs of Parmitano's spacesuit,
particularly anything that might seem amiss. And she was asked to make
certain they documented the condition of the suspect water bag.
planned six-hour, 15-minute spacewalk came to an end one hour and 32
minutes after it started. The two astronauts were able to get some
maintenance work done outside the station. But not nearly the amount of
work they had set out to do.
The excursion was the second in
seven days for the astronauts. Cassidy and Parmitano ventured outside
the station July 9 and performed myriad maintenance tasks. They also
retrieved two science research experiments.
astronauts had planned a variety of maintenance and assembly-related
tasks. Among them: laying electrical power and Ethernet cabling to the
juncture between the U.S. and Russian sides of the outpost.
cabling ultimately will be extended to a Russian multipurpose module
that will be launched late this year from Baikonur Cosmodrome in
The Nauka, or "Science," module will triple as a
laboratory, a docking compartment and an airlock. It will replace the
Russian Pirs, or "pier" module, which was launched to the station in
The spacewalkers also aimed to:
- Replace a video camera on the Japanese Kibo research facility.
- Relocate wireless television camera equipment.
- Set up equipment that would be used in the event a 40-foot radiator failed and had to be removed and replaced.
spacewalk was the 171st to be performed in the assembly and maintenance
of the station, the construction of which began in late 1998.
The shortest spacewalk in ISS history: 14 minutes.
June 24, 2004, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and U.S. astronaut
Mike Fincke ventured outside the outpost. However, their outing was
called off when a pressure problem was detected in the oxygen tank
within Fincke's suite.