Spacesuit Malfunction Forces Cancelation of ISS Spacewalk

Spacesuit Malfunction Forces Cancelation of ISS Spacewalk

Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin were unable to perform a scheduled maintenance task outside the ISS today due to a malfunctioning coolant system on a Russian-built Orlan spacesuit.

Prokopyev’s spacesuit was the troublemaker, exhibiting faulty pumps connected to its cooling system, according to Russian state-run TASS news agency. The cancelled spacewalk was supposed to happen at 6:20 a.m. ET this morning. No date has been set for the re-attempt.

“An abnormal operation of pumps in the cooling system of one of the spacesuits has been found in the process of preparing the spacesuits for the extravehicular activity,” Roscosmos said in a statement. “A decision has been made to stop the preparations for the exit. The causes are being analysed.”

Prokopyev and Petelin were lined up to relocate a heat exchanger, or radiator, from the Rassvet mini-research module to the Nauka module. The newly installed European robotic arm was to assist with the task, with cosmonaut Anna Kikina at the controls. This project began on November 17, when the spacewalkers prepped the heat exchanger for its relocation. The heat exchanger is required to “remove extra thermal loads from the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module during scientific experiments,” TASS explained.

More on this story: An Inspector Gadget-Like Robotic Arm Is Headed to the International Space Station

Glitchy spacesuits are becoming increasingly common on the ISS, which is obviously not good. In August, cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev was forced to abandon his spacewalk when the power in his spacesuit battery began to plummet. Earlier in the year, NASA suspended its spacewalks due to a lingering problem in which water pooled inside the helmets. NASA resumed spacewalks in October following an investigation and the implementation of several fixes.

More: The Coolest — and Most Frightening — Spacewalks in History


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