NASA launches new probe of spacesuit failure

Jul 23, 2013

The US space agency said Tuesday it is launching a second investigation into a leaking helmet that forced an abrupt halt to an Italian astronaut's spacewalk last week.

The probe will examine maintenance, quality assurance, and any operations that could have had a role in the gushing water that mysteriously appeared in the helmet of Italian spacewalker Luca Parmitano.

His on July 16 was stopped after about an hour and a half, marking the second shortest in the history of the International Space Station.

The 36-year-old made it safely back inside orbiting research outpost and was unhurt, though NASA experts said he faced the risk of drowning had the ordeal gone on much longer.

NASA engineers swiftly turned to the cooling system as the potential source of the leak, after determining it was unlikely the water came from Parmitano's inner helmet drink bag.

The investigation announced Tuesday will be carried out at the same time as one already under way by engineers who are "focused on resolving equipment trouble in an effort to enable US spacewalks to resume," NASA said.

The new five-member "mishap" board will seek to "identify the cause or causes of the anomaly and any contributing factors, and make recommendations to the NASA administrator to prevent similar incidents from occurring during future spacewalks," NASA said.

"The board's responsibility is to make observations and recommendations that can be applied to improve the safety of all of NASA's human spaceflight activities."

The new probe will be chaired by Chris Hansen, ISS chief engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, and will include a liaison from the European Space Agency.

Other board members include US astronaut Mike Foreman, ISS safety and mission assurance lead Richard Fullerton, human factors specialist Sudhakar Rajula and chief engineer Joe Pellicciotti.

Explore further: NASA aborts spacewalk due to water leak in helmet (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Astronauts aim to fix ammonia leak at space station

May 10, 2013

Two astronauts are preparing to step out on a spacewalk to try and fix an ammonia leak at the International Space Station, in a hastily arranged venture outside the orbiting lab, NASA said Friday. ...

Croatian pupils mark EU entry with astronaut chat

Jun 26, 2013

A group of pupils at a Zagreb high school on Wednesday marked their country's July 1 entry into the European Union by talking to an astronaut at the International Space Station (ISS).

Recommended for you

Kazakh satellite to be launched into orbit

17 hours ago

Kazakhstan's first-ever Earth observation satellite is to be fired into orbit next week from the European spaceport in Kourou in French Guiana, launch company Arianespace said.

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

20 hours ago

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth ...

First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

Apr 23, 2014

A NASA scientist is launching a one-to-two-year pilot project this summer that takes advantage of U.S. high-voltage power transmission lines to measure a phenomenon that has caused widespread power outages ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth ...

Professional and amateur astronomers join forces

(Phys.org) —Long before the term "citizen science" was coined, the field of astronomy has benefited from countless men and women who study the sky in their spare time. These amateur astronomers devote hours ...

Google+ boss leaving the company

The executive credited with bringing the Google+ social network to life is leaving the Internet colossus after playing a key role there for nearly eight years.

Facebook woos journalists with 'FB Newswire'

Facebook launched Thursday FB Newswire, billed as an online trove of real-time information for journalists and newsrooms to mine while reporting on events or crafting stories.