When people talk about sending people into space in the news, they usually mean that they will be inside a spacecraft or aboard the International Space Station. Cosmonauts and astronauts are rarely in open spaces and are usually engaged in repair work. Recently, the German astronaut Matthias Maurer (Matthias Maurer) made the first for himself and 248 in a row for humanity’s spacewalk. For six and a half hours, he and his American colleague Raja Chari repaired parts of the international station that needed maintenance. While his assistant only worked on one side of the structure, the man walked almost the entire length of it. It would be strange if everything went without incident – before you went out and after you came back there were several problems. We’ll talk about them now.
Astronauts fix the space station
The European Space Agency’s astronaut Matthias Maurer became the fourth German to travel into space. For more than six hours, he and his colleague Raja Chari were at an altitude of more than 400 kilometers. The most important tasks for the astronauts were to connect new hoses to the station’s cooling system, replace the chamber and install a power and data connection on the Bartolomeo platform, which is docked to the European module on the ISS. According to the plan, two astronauts would work in different parts of the station’s outer shell.
I’m going out with my dear colleague Raja. He will fix the station’s cooling system, and I will walk, or rather, crawl along the other part of the Station and take care of various small things, – said Matthias Maurer.
Интересный факт: чтобы облегчить им задачу, находящиеся на борту МКС астронавты NASA Кайла Бэррон (Kayla Barron) и Том Маршберн (Tom Marshburn) помогали им при помощи роботизированной руки Canadarm2.
The astronaut’s spacesuit leaks water
In general, everything went as planned. But during the spacewalk and after returning to the station, some problems arose. Before leaving the door, astronaut Matthias Maurer discovered that the flashlight and camera on his helmet were not working properly. Thanks to the help of Raja Chari and the staff at the Mission Control Center, the equipment was repaired. After that, it seems that nothing threatened the astronaut’s safety.
But after all the work was completed and the astronauts returned to the station, water was found in the helmet of the same Matthias Maurer. When they found out, members of the Mission Control Center asked to collect water and estimate the amount. It turned out that a circle with a diameter of 20-25 centimeters was formed in the ventilation holes of the spacesuit. This was the reason why the front glass of the suit was covered by a layer of water with 30-50%.
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What makes a spacesuit fill with water?
Due to exactly what the water has formed, the source does not say. However, it can be assumed that this is condensate that is formed as a result of breathing. In 2013, a similar incident happened with the Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano. When he went into space, his helmet was filled with water. The situation was so serious that he could neither speak nor hear. To get back on board, he had to turn to his colleague Christopher Cassidy (Christopher Cassidy), who was also in outer space. In that case, the reason why the liquid appeared was not clear either, but there was an assumption that it was leaking from a container with drinking water in the helmet. However, Luca Parmitano said that the taste of the liquid was not like drinking water.
What’s happening on the ISS?
At the time of writing, March 25, 2022, there are 10 people on board the ISS. But as early as March 30, their numbers will drop to seven, as NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hey, along with Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, will return to Earth with the manned Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft. Despite the tense situation in the world, NASA’s aerospace agency works closely with Roscosmos.
We are communicating with our Russian colleagues, there are no problems with the astronauts’ return to Earth, says Joel Montalbano, NASA’s program manager for the International Space Station.
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If interested, we have an article on whether Russia will be able to explore Mars together with European colleagues. Here is the link.