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STATES CHRONICLE – That first step for the British might have been overrated due to the fact that the first spacewalk in Britain’s history was cut short by the presence of water in an astronaut’s helmet. The incident was taken very seriously as it was similar to something that already happened in 2013.
It was a disappointing day for Britain as the first spacewalk in Britain’s history was cut short by the presence of water in Timothy Kopra’s helmet. The astronaut reported, at first, a small bubble of water floating around in his helmet. The bubble transformed rather quickly in a water film. This urged Mission Control to terminate the mission early.
The panic was induced by the fact that in 2013 a similar incident took place. The astronaut that was involved in the incident was at a high risk of drowning. It seems that the suit that Kopra wore at this spacewalk was the same one as in 2013. The flight director in charge, Royce Renfrew, declared that neither one of the two spacewalkers was in danger at any time during the mission.
Timothy Peake, the British astronaut that accompanied Kopra outside the space station, is the first astronaut from Britain to ever walk in space. Unfortunately, the incident with the helmet shortened his walk and stole the spotlight.
As soon as the astronauts were back in the airlock, the station commander took the helmet and inspected it. He reportedly filled a syringe with the equivalent of a tablespoon filled with water. It is believed that the leakage was caused by a fault in the cooling system of the suit.
It seems that the quantity of water retrieved, this time, is significantly lower than the one in 2013. At that time, Luca Parmitano, the Italian astronaut that was involved in the incident, had a total amount of 1.6 quarts of liquid in the helmet. This much of an amount could actually drown an astronaut.
Even though the same suit was involved in the two incidents, NASA says that it has been refurbished thoroughly after the Parmitano incident. Also, the suit has been used in several other instances after 2013 and before Kopra and the missions were all carried out normally.
The reason for which the two astronauts were outside the station is a power outage that could have only been fixed from the outer panels. The first spacewalk in Britain’s history was cut short by the presence of water in one of the astronaut’s helmet, but that did not stop them to repair the station’s power outage, or to make it in the History books.
Image source: www.wikimedia.org