Spacewalk cut short because of water in astronaut’s helmet
A scheduled spacewalk by two astronauts was aborted because a water bubble appeared in the helmet of one of their space suits. According to NASA, neither of the astronauts’ lives were in danger.
The six-hour mission was cut short four hours and ten minutes after beginning when NASA astronaut Tim Kopra reported a 4-inch (10 centimeter) long, and growing, water bubble in his helmet.
As a precaution, #spacewalk terminated due to small amount of water in @Astro_Tim's helmet. https://t.co/KX5g7zfYQehttps://t.co/6sRiiiLFPo— NASA (@NASA) January 15, 2016
Ground control told the astronauts to immediately return to the airlock, but later said it had just been a precautionary measure, and that the astronauts had not been in danger.
“Today’s spacewalk has ended early. The crew was never in any danger,” NASA tweeted.
Today's #spacewalk has ended early. The crew was never in any danger. Listen to the NASA TV commentator for details. https://t.co/TomSPQvunr— NASA (@NASA) January 15, 2016
After the astronauts had returned to the space station, water from Kopra’s helmet was extracted with a syringe for further examination to find out the cause of the problem.
“Towards the end I could definitely tell the sides were swollen,” Korpa recalled. “The first time I noticed was the same time I saw the water coming down from the top and it was barely noticeable. But by the time we started the depress the sides were swollen.”
Today’s exhilarating #spacewalk will be etched in my memory forever – quite an incredible feeling! pic.twitter.com/84Dn3gHA70— Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) January 15, 2016
US astronaut Tim Kopra and his British colleague, Tim Peake – the first British astronaut to make a spacewalk – successfully replaced a voltage regulator that failed two months ago, slashing the station’s power supply by one-eighth.
Wrapping up today's spacewalk activities. Huge thanks to the ground teams who make it all possible & keep us safe out there - you guys rock!— Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) January 15, 2016
This is not the first time astronauts have had water leak into their helmets. The phenomenon has been recorded at least two other times, including one when Luca Parmitano’s helmet began flooding with water in 2013.
With the repressurization of the airlock, today's #spacewalk officially ended at 12:31pm ET. https://t.co/KX5g7zfYQehttps://t.co/WP33vOEV3s— NASA (@NASA) January 15, 2016