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ISS Crew Recreates Spacesuit Leak, Cause Still a Mystery

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 27-Aug-2013
Updated: 27-Aug-2013 06:53 PM

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) recreated the spacesuit leak that endangered European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano last month, but the root cause of the leak remains undetermined.

As shown in a NASA video released as part of its Space Station Live recap today, water collecting in the helmet is clearly visible.  The suit was powered up -- with no one in it -- to see if the problem still exists.   It does.  Some of the spacesuit parts will be returned to Earth for further study since engineers have been unable to discover exactly what went wrong.  They know the leak came from the spacesuit's cooling system, but that's all.

Parmitano shared the chilling details of what he experienced on July 16 in a blog post last week.  About an hour into a planned 6.5 hour spacewalk, he began feeling water behind his head.  The amount grew and grew until eventually it surrounded his head, impairing his ability to see, hear and speak, and, almost, to breath.  The spacewalk was terminated and he returned to the airlock and was helped out of his suit by crewmates just in time.


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