Leaky helmet forces early end to spacewalk

Image: Tim Kopra on spacewalk

NASA’s Tim Kopra works outside the International Space Station. Kopra and British crewmate Tim Peake had to end their spacewalk early due to water in Kopra’s helmet. (Credit: NASA TV)

Friday’s spacewalk at the International Space Station was called off early when NASA astronaut Tim Kopra reported a small bubble of water inside his spacesuit helmet.

NASA commentator Rob Navias said the crew “was never in any danger at all.” Kopra and his fellow spacewalker, Britain’s Tim Peake, got back inside the station safely. Nevertheless, the incident echoed a scary episode in 2013 when Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano nearly drowned inside his spacesuit. That forced a months-long investigation as well as the addition of absorbent pads and snorkels inside the U.S.-made suits.

The earlier water leak was traced to contamination that blocked up a water separator in the suit’s air-circulation system. A pool of water crept up into the helmet in zero-G and began to cover Parmitano’s face.

Things never got that far in Friday’s incident. As soon as Kopra reported moisture in the helmet, NASA went into a procedure to stop work, bring the astronauts back inside and get their suits off.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Aerospace and science editor for GeekWire, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
This entry was posted in GeekWire and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.