Astronaut Nearly Drowns on Spacewalk

PHOTO: Spacewalk
Share
Copy

Astronaut Luca Parmitano nearly drowned during his spacewalk this morning, NASA officials said during a press conference this afternoon.

During his second walk in two weeks to perform routine maintenance on the International Space Station, the Italian astronaut had one to five liters of water seep into his helmet, impairing his ability to see or hear, NASA officials said.

The unexpected problem forced Mission Control to abort the spacewalk and send Parmitano and his American colleague Chris Cassidy back into the airlock of the International Space Station.

NASA is conducting intensive forensic work to figure out the cause of the leak. The drink bag attached to the suit holds 32 ounces of water and the cooling system holds a gallon.

It took 24 minutes to get Parmitano back into airlock and another 11 minutes to get him out of the suit, NASA officials said. The crew inside the space station raced to help him get out of his spacesuit because he was having trouble seeing and hearing at that point.

Cassidy told Mission Control "the water tastes funny, not like our water from the portable water dispenser" after the two were out of their spacesuits, NASA said.

International Space Station Astronauts Walk in Space

The spacewalk was supposed to last about six and a half hours, but the water problem shortened it to an hour and 32 minutes.

This was the second spacewalk for the two in a week -­ Cassidy was on his sixth spacewalk, and Parmitano was on his second. He was the first Italian astronaut to walk in space when he headed out.

None of the items on the spacewalk to-do list today are critical, but they are important for space station maintenance and to prep the station for a new Russian module that will be coming up to the space station, NASA said.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 19678504.
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: In this stock image, a lumberjack is pictured.
Joze Pojbic/Getty Images
PHOTO: The tires of a Studebaker, missing since 1971, are visible in Brule Creek near Elk Point, S.D. in this undated file photo.
South Dakota Attorney General?s Office/AP Photo
PHOTO: Left, an undated file photo provided by the Spokane County Sheriff shows Bombing Kevin William Harpham; right, in this undated photo provided by the Johnson County Sheriff, Frazier Glenn Cross, Jr., appears in a booking photo.
Spokane County Sheriff/AP Photo| Johnson County Sheriff via Getty Images