According to the AP’s Twitter feed, NASA has aborted a routine removal and replacement (R&R) spacewalk due to a “water leak in astronaut’s’ [sic] helmet.” The two astronauts on the spacewalk are Chris Cassidy from NASA and Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano. Update from NASA:
— NASA (@NASA) July 16, 2013
The spacewalk, the second in a week, had the mission of inspecting and installing a few cables, like an ethernet link between the U.S.’s section of the International Space Station and the future site of the Russian module, which will hopefully launch sometime next year. Lots more info on that here.
We’re watching live on UStream, embedded above. Cassidy just noted to NASA ground control that Luca “looks miserable, but is okay.” The Canadian Space Agency compared the leak to going snorkeling or diving with a mask full of water–unpleasant, but at least when you’re under water you know there’s breathable air nearby.
Looks like things are winding down. Both astronauts are safe. The spacewalk mission actually finished the first part of the job, connecting jumper cables and data/power connections, but when beginning the next task, Luca Parmitano noticed water filling up in his helmet. Ground control called the two back inside since the water leak appeared to be increasing without an obvious cause or solution. NASA noted on the livestream that neither astronaut was in serious danger, but we’re most impressed at how calm everyone remained during this whole thing, which would reduce most of us terrestrial Earthlings to tears and soiled spacesuits.
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