Helmet leaks have forced NASA to suspend Spacewalk

During an extraterrestrial activity (EVA) on the International Space Station (ISS) on March 23, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maure was shocked by a water leak inside his helmet. To investigate the cause of the incident, NASA announced that all non-emergency spacewalks have been temporarily suspended.

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Mauer was spotted by NASA astronaut King Chari’s helmet during a spacewalk on March 23, 2022. That day, a water leak was noticed in his own helmet. Photo: NASA Television

At a news conference Tuesday (17), the U.S. space agency said it would conduct a thorough inspection of the Extravascular Mobility Unit (EMU) spaceships, clothing and accessories used during functions performed outside the ISS.

This is exactly what happens when the helmet used in Maureen does not return to Earth until July, so the spacewalk which is not very urgent (for example emergency repairs in the orbital lab) will have to go a few months.

Muirr reported about 20 to 25 centimeters of water on the very thin layer of the helmet, which covered the inner surface of the accessory. Dana Weigel, ISS’s deputy program manager at the Johnson Space Center in the United States, said: “The suite sometimes produces some water, but it was a bit out of our normal experience.” “That’s exactly the amount of water that caught our attention.”

The agency will analyze water samples and filters from the spacesuit as part of an ongoing investigation, he said. “We are looking for obvious signs of pollution, dirt or something else. A

A serious water leak incident suspended EVA in 2013

This is the second time the spacewalk has been suspended due to an unexpected water leak. In July 2013, however, the situation was much more serious.

At the time, ESA astronaut Luca Permitano’s face was almost completely submerged in the swollen water inside his helmet. About an hour after he started working on a spacewalk with NASA’s Chris Cassidy, he reported to Mission Control what was happening and the activity had stopped. Parmitano came out of the incident safely.

ESA astronaut Luka Parmitano during an ISS spacewalk on July 16, 2013, which became smaller when he reported water inside his helmet. Photo: NASA

As a result, NASA suspended all spacewalks at the time in an investigation that turned into a full-fledged report nine months later, listing a number of factors that could be changed to avoid future problems.

The report identifies the technical cause as “an inorganic substance interfering with the drum hole in the EMU water separator”. As a result, water overflows through a vent cannula.

“Johnson has a water filtration plant [Centro Espacial] Not conducted for silica, ”read a document written by NASA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in April 2017. “As a result, silica-laden water was used to treat flight hardware filters, which were later used in four spacesuits in orbit.

The agency monitored the silica situation and created a backup for astronauts in the event of a leak. In early 2014, astronauts used a “suction pad” on the back of their helmets to “suck” excess water. Additionally, a breathing tube was inserted into the helmet when the astronaut’s face was covered in water.

Since these arrangements were made, the water leak that has attracted the most attention is the recent peacock incident.

NASA sends extra pillows for any emergency spacewalk

“We have a very thin type of absorbent pad that we can put inside the helmet,” Weigel said. “One of them is behind the crew helmet, and the other is a kind of headband that goes over the head. It looks like a sack that encloses with a drawstring. And that will provide some relief.

Some of the extra pillows Weizel mentioned were sent to the ISS on SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission, and 16 more will be sent this Thursday (19) by Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft.

Weigel noted that these extra pads represent a contingency plan if astronauts need to fix something in space before the investigation is complete.

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