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EVA-23: Chris Cassidy & Luca Parmitano (Spacesuit Water Leak) part 1 of 2 -

EVA-23: Chris Cassidy & Luca Parmitano (Spacesuit Water Leak) part 1 of 2 por sebastiansz   5 anos atrás

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EVA-23 Terminated Following Space Suit Problem

[...] EVA-23 was about 45 minutes ahead of the timeline. Then, at about 8:42 a.m., Parmitano made his reference to water inside his "Snoopy" communications cap. He was quickly joined by Cassidy, who verified that up to 800 milliliters of water was visible inside Parmitano's helmet. Initially suspecting a coolant leak, he reduced the flow rate, and the possibility of a drinking bag leak seemed unlikely as it was already dry. Monitoring the situation from the Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, was a team headed by ISS Flight Director Korth and featuring astronaut Shane Kimbrough as Capcom. At 9:06 a.m., with Parmitano now reporting water in his eyes, Korth gave the call to terminate EVA-23. Under his directive, Parmitano would proceed immediately toward the airlock, whilst Cassidy stowed the Ethernet cable and cleaned up the work site.

Within five minutes, Parmitano was back at Quest, by now with water droplets entering his eyes, nose, and mouth. Cassidy handled the closure of the hatch, which was locked at 9:26 a.m. and repressed back up to ambient ISS pressures about 11 minutes later. "He looks miserable," Cassidy said of his crewmate, "but he's okay." At 9:38 a.m., the hatch connecting the outer crew lock with the inner equipment lock was open and Nyberg removed Parmitano's helmet, releasing a flurry of water droplets in the process.

The official "end time" for EVA-23 was 9:29 a.m. EST, concluding a 92-minute spacewalk. This duration established today's partially-successful excursion as one of the shortest station-based EVAs in history. Although several "intravehicular" walks have taken place, the shortest ISS EVA took place on 24 June 2004 by Russian cosmonaut Gennadi Padalka and U.S. astronaut Mike Fincke. They were supposed to replace a faulty circuit breaker, but their spacewalk was cut short—after just 14 minutes—when the primary oxygen bottle in Fincke's space suit began rapidly losing pressure.

It cannot be doubted that the situation will unfurl in the coming days, as NASA identifies the cause of the water build-up in Parmitano's helmet and what corrective actions can be put in place. At one stage, the astronaut was obliged to gulp down the globules of water, which he described as exhibiting an unusual and unpleasant taste and therefore possibly indicative of a cooling system glitch in his suit.

With the unfortunate conclusion to EVA-23, it is fortuitous that neither Parmitano or Cassidy suffered any harm in the harsh vacuum and hostile environment. Several tasks for the planned 6.5-hour spacewalk were completed - the Y-Bypass jumper configuration, the 1553 data cable connections, and a couple of others - with several begun, but left incomplete. Had the EVA proceeded as intended, Cassidy would have installed four radiator V-guides onto the Radiator Grapple Bars, delivered aboard SpaceX's CRS-2 Dragon cargo ship in March 2013, whilst Parmitano would have joined him to remove and relocate the 7-foot-tall Wireless Video System External Transceiver Assembly (WETA) from its current position on the P-1 truss to the aft end cone of the Harmony node. The spacewalkers would also have attended to several other tasks, including the replacement of a camera on the Exposed Facility of Japan's Kibo laboratory and the removal of a multi-layer insulation blanket from the failed Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU)-1. These objectives may be added to another EVA in the near future, although it remains to be seen when such an excursion will take place.



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