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ISS spacewalk interrupted by suit malfunction

A Russian cosmonaut just handled a rare spacesuit problem. As CNN‘s Jackie Wattles observed, mission control ordered Oleg Artemyev back again to the International Space Station’s airlock after encountering a suit issue. As the exact nature of the difficulty wasn’t clear around this writing, NASA commentators noted a “slight fluctuation” in the suit’s battery. Artemyev returned safely, connected to the station’s power and resumed operations.

We’ve asked NASA for comment. In a statement to Space.com, spokesperson Bob Navias said Artemyev “never was in virtually any danger” once the anomaly occurred around 12PM Eastern. Artemyev and fellow Russian Denis Matveev were amid outfitting the ESA’s robotic arm with cameras along with other equipment changes.

While this has been a mild incident, it could have produced unpleasant flashbacks. Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano’s suit leaked during two spacewalks (the initial initially went undetected) in July 2013. Through the second sortie, Parmitano’s helmet filled up with water and managed to get difficult to breathe his calm go back to base could have helped save his life, in accordance with a NASA report. The incident led the agency to pause all non-emergency spacewalks until it isolated the reason (a clogged filter) and took steps to avoid future crises.

Artemyev’s issue may not lead to an identical review. However, it underscores the continuing fragility of space exploration. A good seemingly minor issue may become serious in space, and mission teams don’t desire to take a chance.

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