Spacewalk to Go Ahead on Sunday Despite Helmet Leak: Nasa

Spacewalk to Go Ahead on Sunday Despite Helmet Leak: Nasa

Two US astronauts will go ahead with a spacewalk this weekend despite a flaw in one of the spacesuits that allowed water to seep into the helmet, the US space agency Nasa said Friday.

Mission managers made the decision after discussing what Nasa called "the minor seepage of water into the helmet of Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Terry Virts of Nasa following the last spacewalk on February 25."

Virts had finished his six-plus hour spacewalk and was back inside the crew lock section of the Quest airlock when he noticed water building up in his helmet and felt dampness on the back of his head.

"Spacewalk specialists reported that Virts' suit - serial number 3005 - has a history of what is called 'sublimator water carryover,' a small amount of residual water in the sublimator cooling component that can condense once the environment around the suit is re-pressurised following its exposure to vacuum during a spacewalk, resulting in a tiny amount of water pushing into the helmet," Nasa said in a statement.

(Also See: New Nasa Spacecraft to Study Earth's Magnetic Fields, Launch March 12)

"A high degree of confidence was expressed that the suit's systems are all in good shape and approval was given to proceed with the third spacewalk in this series."

On Sunday, Virts and his colleague Barry Wilmore will finish routing cable outside the International Space Station and install communications antennas that will provide navigational data to visiting spacecraft.

The work aims to help set up new docking ports for commercial spaceship carrying astronauts in the coming years.

The spacewalk, which begins at 7:10 am (1210 GMT), will be the 187th in support of station assembly and maintenance.


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