British astronaut Tim Peake went on his first spacewalk on Friday along with NASA’s Tim Kopra to repair a damaged electrical component that the International Space Station needed to continue powering critical components.
The main objective of replacing the failed electrical component appears to have been completed successfully, but the astronauts were also tasked with other objectives that they were unable to complete because the spacewalk had to be called off early – four hours and 43 minutes in.
After Colonel Kopra's space suit seemed to be giving a high carbon dioxide reading, he asked for help, and the problem was blamed on a "faulty sensor." But after some time went by, it became clear that this wasn't the case.
Kopra’s space suit was discovered to have been malfunctioning just mintues later; the astronaut reported seeing a water globule a “few inches across” inside of his helmet, which appears to have been related to a leak in the space suit’s cooling system due to the temperature of the water.
After the discovery, the astronauts phoned home for advice, knowing that something was wrong. They were instructed to head back to the air lock and return to the International Space Station at once rather than continue carrying out their objectives.
Three others aboard the International Space Station: Scott Kelly, Sergey Volkov, and Yuri Malenchenko were available and ready to help Kopra as soon as he made it to the air lock and the hatches opened to the International Space Station.
Kelly noted that Kopra was wet all around his shoulders, arms, and wrists, suggesting that the fluid accumulation was a major problem with the space suit. As a result, Kelly also took photographs of Kopra in his suit and took samples of the water and some of the absorption pads out from inside of the space suit to be used as evidence to figure out what the failure was caused by.
Interestingly, Peake’s wrists are reported to have been slightly wet too, but nowhere near as wet as Kopra’s.
Fortunately, both astronauts are now safe aboard the International Space Station, but the dangers that were realized today continue to scare those that are against spacewalks.
Source: The Guardian