Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .

NASA puzzled as astronaut's helmet leak halts spacewalk
by Staff Writers
Washington, District Of Columbia (AFP) July 16, 2013

NASA cut short a spacewalk at the International Space Station Tuesday after an Italian astronaut discovered water leaking in his helmet, puzzling engineers as to the cause.

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano was on his second career spacewalk when he reported feeling water pooling at the back of his head.

Soon, he was unable to see, hear or talk and was rushed back into the space station, where he quickly recovered.

The US space agency said it has never seen a problem like this before, and it appeared that the source was unlikely to be the drink bag that astronauts carry inside their helmets.

Another possibility was that the fluid came from the spacesuit's cooling system, NASA said.

"Clearly we have a problem at this point that we don't quite understand," said Kenny Todd, mission management team chairman.

Drowning or suffocating were potential risks, had the situation gone on any longer, NASA experts told reporters.

It also caused momentary alarm for Parmitano, an astronaut with the European Space Agency.

"Go stick your head in a fishbowl and try to walk around," said David Korth, NASA flight director, describing the discomfort that the novice spacewalker felt as he grappled with the leak.

"He was clearly having trouble," said Korth, adding that the 36-year-old "stayed calm and cool" even as the amount of water appeared to increase as he made his way back to the airlock.

As crew members helped remove Parmitano's headgear, globs of water could be seen floating away.

Shortly afterward, he described for his fellow astronauts a strange liquid that appeared to come from inside the back of his helmet.

"Luca says the water tastes really funny," US astronaut and fellow spacewalker Chris Cassidy told NASA mission control in Houston.

"To him the water clearly did not taste like our normal drinking water," said Cassidy.

Parmitano's long underwear inside the suit was dry around his midsection, and it appeared the leak had come from the vent port near the back of Parmitano's helmet, Cassidy added.

Cassidy said his colleague looked "miserable" but was doing "okay," and NASA TV showed images of Parmitano floating inside the space station and blowing his nose with a tissue.

Karina Eversley, lead spacewalk officer, said the drink bag was "unlikely" to be the source of the leak.

NASA is probing whether the leak may have come from the liquid cooling ventilation system in the spacesuit, which contains about a gallon of water treated with iodine and may have a bad taste like Parmitano described.

"We have not seen a problem before with this type or quantity of water," she said.

Parmitano on July 9 became the first Italian to walk in space. He was wearing the same spacesuit as he wore during his inaugural outing.

The purpose of the spacewalk, the second of two planned this month, was to prepare the ISS for a new Russian module and to make some repairs.

Parmitano had finished his first task of making a cable connection outside the ISS when he reported a faulty CO2 sensor. About six minutes later he began feeling a "gush" or a "bubble" at the back of his head, Korth said.

The outing was cut short at one hour 32 minutes. It was supposed to last six hours and 15 minutes.

The spacewalk was the second shortest in history, following a 14-minute outing in 2004 that was terminated early due to a pressure sensor failure in the Russian-made suits, a NASA spokesman said.

Parmitano arrived at the ISS aboard a Soyuz on May 28 for a six-month mission, joining Cassidy and two Russians who arrived in March.


Related Links
Station at NASA
Station and More at Roscosmos
S.P. Korolev RSC Energia
Watch NASA TV via Space.TV
Space Station News at Space-Travel.Com

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Astronaut's helmet leak forces abrupt end to spacewalk
Washington, District Of Columbia (AFP) July 16, 2013
An Italian astronaut discovered "funny" tasting water leaking in his helmet during a spacewalk at the International Space Station Tuesday, forcing an early end to the outing, NASA said. The US space agency said it was probing what caused the situation, but stressed that the astronauts were not in any danger during what was supposed to be a routine repair job at the orbiting lab. Instead ... read more

Alphasat and INSAT 3D fueled for Ariane 5 heavy lift dual launch

Special group to be set up for inspecting production of Proton-M carrier rockets

Two Rockets Launched From Wallops

Specialists unrelated to Khrunichev to check Proton-M rocket production

Third Drive of Curiosity's Long Trek Covers 135 Feet

DNA-sequencing chip could be sent to Mars to search for signs of life

Opportunity Making Progress Toward Solander Point

Mars Rover Curiosity Begins Trek Toward Mount Sharp

Scientist says Earth may once have been orbited by two moons

Dust hazard for Moon missions: scientists

NASA Seeks Information on Commercial Robotic Lunar Lander Capabilities

Orbiting astronaut controls robot on Earth, testing feasibility of CU-Boulder project on far side of the moon

NASA finds new moon on Neptune

A Giant Moon for the Ninth Planet

Kerberos and Styx: Welcome to the Pluto System

New Horizons Team Sticking to Original Flight Plan at Pluto

Hubble Finds a Cobalt Blue Planet

Gaps in dust around stars may not indicate planets as many believe

Hubble Telescope reveals variation between hot extrasolar planet atmospheres

UCSB Astronomer Uncovers The Hidden Identity Of An Exoplanet

NASA, Industry Test Additively Manufactured Rocket Engine Injector

Navigation satellite orbit raised, ISRO starts testing cryogenic engine

N. Korea tested rocket engine: think-tank

Indian space agency wants second rocket assembly facility

China's astronauts ready for longer missions

Chinese probe reaches record height in space travel

China's space tracking ship Yuanwang-5 berths at Jakarta for replenishment

China plans to launch Tiangong-2 space lab around 2015

Vesta Topography Map

First Mission of Space Launch System with Orion Atop it to Preview Asteroid Visit

Comet ISON Brings Holiday Fireworks

Ten Thousandth Near-Earth Object Unearthed in Space

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement