Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Travel News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

US astronaut grapples with 'tears in space'

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 25, 2011
A US astronaut Drew Feustel learned a valuable lesson about being teary-eyed on a spacewalk, NASA said Wednesday after the Endeavour crew's third jaunt outside the International Space Station.

"Tears in space don't run down your face," he said, according to lead spacewalk officer Allison Bollinger who described the problem Feustel encountered when out on the spacewalk with astronaut Mike Fincke.

"They actually kind of conglomerate around your eyeball," Bollinger recounted.

The problem occurred toward the end of Wednesday's spacewalk by the two American astronauts who arrived at the orbiting lab along with a six-member crew aboard the shuttle Endeavour 10 days ago.

After stepping out to work on repairs to the Russian side of the station, Feustel discovered some of the anti-fog solution he had buffed on to the interior of his helmet was flaking off.

"We have seen this happen a couple of times in the past where if you are not careful about buffing the anti-fog just the right amount, that it can tend to flake off every once in a while and get in the crew member's eye," said Bollinger.

"The anti-fog is just off-the-shelf dishwashing soap. So if you have ever had soap in your eye, you know how that feels."

Feustel, who has completed several spacewalks since becoming an astronaut in 2000, was able to wiggle down far enough in his spacesuit to make use of a spongy device called a Valsalva that is typically used to block the nose in case a pressure readjustment is needed.

"He was able to rub his eye against the Valsalva device to get the tear free," Bollinger said.

The rest of the six hour, 54 minute spacewalk was routine, NASA said. Scheduled tasks to complete an external wireless antenna system and mend parts of the Russian side of the space station went ahead as planned.

A final spacewalk by two Endeavour astronauts outside the orbiting research station is set for Friday. It will mark the last time US astronauts arriving on board the space shuttle step out for a spacewalk at the lab.

A spacewalk is planned for the Atlantis mission in July, but it will performed by International Space Station crew, not by US astronauts who arrive on the shuttle NASA said.

The Endeavour mission, STS-134, is the second to last for the American shuttle program. After Atlantis's planned launch in July, the three-decade US program will end and the shuttles will become museum pieces.

A new pre-spacewalk exercise regimen, known informally as the slow motion hokey pokey and consisting of light exercises and breathing instead of an overnight campout in an airlock, was judged a resounding success.

NASA's flight surgeon "reported that there were no medical symptoms whatsoever" with the new approach to preventing decompression sickness, or "the bends" that scuba divers face when encountering changing pressure, said Derek Hassman, lead International Space Station flight director.

"He gave the crew a clean bill of health and the crew had nothing but positive feedback about the protocol -- they really loved the simplicity of the protocol, the fact that it doesn't require as much time on the oxygen masks, it doesn't require the overnight campout."

However, the in-suit light exercise (ILE) pre-breathe protocol will not be used for the last spacewalk of the mission on Friday, because it takes up 40 minutes more usage of the canister that scrubs carbon dioxide from the spacesuit.

That could pose a problem for spacewalker Greg Chamitoff, who experienced a malfunction in his C02 sensor during his first spacewalk of the mission.

Since Chamitoff wears an extra-large spacesuit, there are no replacements on board for him to wear.

"It might combine with the possible impacts of the C02 sensor... (and) would reduce the capacity of Greg's suit to the point that we might not be able to do the 6 hour 30 minute EVA," Hassman said, referring to extra-vehicular activity, NASA's term for spacewalk.

However, the new protocol was received so favorably, it will likely become the astronaut's favored method for future spacewalk preparations, he said.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

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

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

Astronauts test new exercises on space walk
Washington (AFP) May 25, 2011
Two astronauts floated out of the International Space Station on Wednesday after trying out new exercises aimed at preventing decompression sickness while conserving oxygen, NASA said. "Drew Feustel and Mike Fincke switched their suits to battery power at 1:43 am EDT (0543 GMT), signifying the start of today's planned six and a half hour excursion," the US space agency said in a statement. ... read more

ASTRA 1N delivered to French Guiana

Russia sends two Soyuz carrier rockets to French Guiana

ILS Proton Successfully Launches Telstar 14R And Estrela do Sul 2 for Telesat

Satellites for Asia and India are orbited on Arianespace's third Ariane 5 mission of 2011

Mars Formed Rapidly into Runt of Planetary Litter

Sibling rivalry: Why Mars became a planetary runt

NASA's Spirit Rover Completes Mission on Mars

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

President Kennedy's Speech and America's Next Moonshot Moment

NASA-Funded Scientists Make Watershed Lunar Discovery

Moon may have more water than believed: study

Twin GRAIL Spacecraft to Launch Site by Lockheed Martin

'Dwarf planet' is covered in crystal ice

Carbon monoxide detected around Pluto

The PI's Perspective: Pinch Me!

Later, Uranus: New Horizons Passes Another Planetary Milestone

Kepler's Astounding Haul of Multiple-Planet Systems Just Keeps Growing

Bennett team discovers new class of extrasolar planets

Climate scientists reveal new candidate for first habitable exoplanet

Free-Floating Planets May be More Common Than Stars

U.K. spaceplane passes technical review

India Lines Up Three PSLV Launches This Year

J-2X Test Series Proves Part Integrity

ISRO to Set Up Sub-Systems Integration Facility

Venezuela, China to launch satellite next year

Top Chinese scientists honored with naming of minor planets

China sees smooth preparation for launch of unmanned module

China to attempt first space rendezvous

NASA to sample an asteroid with new space mission

NASA aims to grab asteroid time capsule

NASA Selects OSIRIS-REx as Next New Frontiers Mission

NASA to Launch New Science Mission to Asteroid in 2016

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. 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 SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement