NASA Reveals More Information About Spacesuit Malfunction

Space agency was not properly informed about previous leak in suit prior to spacewalk incident.
3:00 | 02/26/14

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Transcript for NASA Reveals More Information About Spacesuit Malfunction
This is a special room. I think you're acting you're perfectly accurate -- -- perfectly. Why can't you see people. I have a meeting -- increasing. A dangerous spacesuit malfunction. Today we're learning NASA could have prevented it hello everyone I'm Michelle Franzen in New York with this ABC news digital special report. A new NASA report says the leak inside the -- -- Italian astronaut -- apartments on -- Feeling in his helmet with waters nearly drowning him during a spacewalk was caused by a problem the agency had earlier information about. A similar glitch happened just a few days before -- -- July 2013 walk. For more on this breaking story want to bring -- ABC's -- necessary from. The Johnson Space Center in Houston Gina what does this reports say what are we learning. Well Michelle what we what we found out from this report are several things. That there had been a leak in the same space suit a week before July 9 on -- times for spacewalk. And that information just didn't go high enough or foreign office space agency. So there there -- -- Monday morning quarterbacking now going books we should have what do we do wrong what do we do what we need to learn from this. But if they have known that the question is would that have stuck if not people had known about that leak. Would that have prevented -- -- -- from even going out on that second spacewalk. So that really was the issue plus there's the fact that. They didn't you know mission control was criticized for as soon as -- kind of start talking about spacewalk he didn't immediately halt it. That was one of the criticisms. Criticisms that came out -- a report today. What -- -- -- the head of human spaceflight for NASA centers that. They will not conduct any more spacewalks until they figured out. All of these problems and followed all the recommendations in today's report -- -- this -- -- Christmas that we are covered. Sorry I was going to say this report photo hanging on what happened before. That's space walk and in the moment correct. Correct and they're saying they have to fix several things. Mostly communications issues and how how they sort out what's -- problem and what's not. Before they'll -- -- regularly scheduled spacewalk began. They hope to have all of these issues solved by saint August of next year now have to do an emergency spacewalk they'll certainly go -- do that but. Nothing is scheduled until next August. So -- give me an idea you say this didn't go far enough up the chain of command do we know where the glitch was. No we don't really what they know about the glitches this they know that. Somehow. -- debris clogged up a filter in the space it's cooling system. Which really runs water for the space -- -- a space -- to keep the -- not cool. Well there was a -- and saw that water back to the suit and then filled up. Look apartment Thomas helmet they don't know where the debris came from and that's something they're trying to sort out. Well you know we know about this information being out there but was there any idea that the astronauts and had any problems with this early on -- that they knew that there could be -- leak. They knew the week before but I don't think anyone took the -- seriously and that's essentially what the reports today in a report like this also brings to mind the delicate nature nature of space travel and also things like the challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters. Why is it that NASA still suffers from some of these communication problems. Well bill Kirsten Meyer addressed that issue -- teleconference briefing that just concluded -- few minutes police said. This wasn't quite the level of Columbia and challenger at all no one tied for instance. But he says it just shows how fragile it is out there how dangerous it is how risky space flight is. And how much more they need to learn about the harsh environments they operate -- So we know the timeline of this walk and then juxtapose that a few weeks later when two American astronauts Rick mastery Rocco -- a struck -- excuse me and Mike Hopkins did their emergency spacewalks. -- -- about five months after -- apartments on a space walk. Those were critical space walks that they needed to fix a part that was broken on the space station that was. Really had forced them to reduce their operating systems if you remember they put -- you know an absorbent -- in the back of the helmet so that the ash has to do like leave their head back into the -- test if they needed to and remember they also put and a snorkel two that if there was water they like. Read. You know from you know regions below where the water was in their -- so. They -- emergency measures because of spacewalks were critical it's amazing to think that those few. Items taken out -- space could be Lifesavers at that time. Now let's talk a little bit about those suits their design 35 years ago -- -- making new designs as a result of this. Yes they have new designs in the war say that there aren't that many people who design space suits. So to small community and -- -- very serious attention to all of these issues and and figuring out they can have several space of space suit designs on the drawing boards and they really want -- better space suits. Do they have a lot. Of space suits left and there are inventory. No they're down about twelve space suits but you know that's planning as long as they're -- functioning. You know they've only got six people at a time up on the space station they don't have any really they don't have any other human. Spaceflight missions planned they'd like some neglected -- caption asteroid or. Maybe go back to the moon or go to Mars but there's no mandate or or any funding for any of those missions at the moment. So with only six people in this state can really only -- the match would have of Americans on the and European astronauts and Canadian space station's -- three or four so. They're planning of -- go around. -- energy you know we always are fascinated when we see that video of these astronauts taking such. Measures going out there to make an -- repairs out in space very fascinating could this report jeopardize any future projects like -- missions to. The moon or Mars. No I don't think it will I think they're gonna take this is a lesson learned and move on. All right NBC's -- necessary at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas thank you very much for joining us. You can't get a complete recap right here on abcnews.com. For now Michelle Franzen in New York with -- ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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