A spacewalk was halted just hours after what was supposed to be a nearly seven-hour walk. Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev was repeatedly asked to drop what he was doing and return to the air chamber of the International Space Station (ISS) because of a problem with his spacesuit.
During a live broadcast, NASA officials said the cosmonaut was never in danger. Still, problems with the battery powering his spacesuit were troubling enough for flight controllers to order him to urgently return to the space station and connect his suit to ISS power.
Battery issues were causing “voltage fluctuations” in Artemyev’s suit, according to comments on live broadcast of the spacewalk.
Officers ashore gave Artemyev several warnings that he needed to return to the airlock.
“Drop everything and start coming back immediately” was one of the last messages from Earth before Artemyev confirmed he was heading for the airlock. A few minutes later, he managed to re-enter the space station and connect his suit to a power source.
Cosmonaut Denis Matveev, who was working alongside Artemyev on the spacewalk, remained outside the space station’s airlock for more than an hour until flight controllers decided to end the walk ahead of time because of problems. of Artemyev’s spacesuit.
A Russian translator said in the live stream that Artemyev jokingly told flight controllers that he felt “better than when he started the spacewalk” after returning to the ISS.
The purpose of Wednesday’s spacewalk was for the two cosmonauts, Artemyev and Matveev, to install two cameras on the new european robotic armwhich is attached outside the ISS in a Russian-controlled part.
Spacewalks are frequent operations on the ISS, as astronauts and cosmonauts – the Russian term for astronaut – must routinely leave the space station for maintenance, science experiments and other tasks.
More than 250 spacewalks have been carried out outside the orbiting laboratory since it entered service about two decades ago, normally without any problems.
This was Artemyev’s seventh spacewalk and Matveev’s third. Both were wearing Russian-made Orlan spacesuits. There is also the US-made EMU, or Extravehicular Mobility Unit, which are spacesuits aboard the ISS for spacewalks.
Both types of suits are designed to be fully self-contained, providing all air as the only barrier between astronauts and the deadly vacuum of space during walks. They have communication equipment, ventilation and enough air for astronauts to breathe for hours on end.
Source: CNN Brasil