NASA is still investigating water leaks in a spacesuit during a space shuttle earlier this year and continues to fly in space in the future until engineers solve the problem.
The leak occurred during a recent spacecraft trip from the U.S. station. March 23 includes NASA astronaut Raja Chari and European Space Agency astronomer Matthias Maurer. At the end of the nearly seven-hour space shuttle, Maurer reported that water had accumulated on his visor, although a thin layer of water, about 20 to 25 inches [20 to 25 cm] wide, did not pose a threat to him.
NASA has provided several updates on water leaks since the incident. However, at a May 12 meeting of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), Susan Helms, a former NASA star working for the panel, said the organization was “not going” to the spacewalks, or EVAs, because of its progress. Investigation.
“Because NASA is considering the risk profile of these suits, which are older, the EMU has not yet gone to the planned EVA pending an investigation into their findings,” he said. The EMU, or Extravehicular Mobility Unit, is the spacesuit used by NASA in the ISS spacewalks.
At a meeting on May 17 on the upcoming test of the Boeing CST-100 aircraft, Dana Weigel, NASA’s ISS deputy program manager, confirmed that NASA is still standing at the moment. Investigations found no signs of water contamination in the residual suit, which may have been related to the helmet leak.
The suit itself, he said, could not be tested in detail until it was returned to Earth. NASA plans to replace the case with the next SpaceX cargo Dragon machine, launched at the station in early June.
“In EVA’s view, until we better understand the factors that may be the cause between the final EVA and our EMU, we are not moving to the so-called EVA,” he said. “We will not make a planned EVA until we have a chance to speak out and develop major mechanisms for system failure.” Compared to a flight readiness review, that will be done through a review process.
Weigel said NASA would consider the “emergencies” of space travel by measuring the risk of running a spacewalk against an accident caused by part of a station that requires a spacewalk to be repaired or replaced. “We will have to look at the risk compared to the risk,” he said, including the nature of the investigation and any steps to resolve the problem.
He said the Crew-4 mission brought several pads to be inserted inside a protective helmet to absorb water. Sixteen more residences will be delivered via Starliner equipment.
Exploring the “immobility” of ordinary space travel has little effect on the performance of the ISS, as no spacecraft was planned until later this year to include a second set of new solar lines. Weigel did not estimate how long the investigation would take.
The March incident was not as severe as in 2013, when water leaked from the helmet of another ESA star, Luca Parmitano, shortly after the start of his space mission. He could return to the airway safely, but only after a liter and a half of water leaked from his hat, making it difficult to breathe.
Water leaks have been a problem for intervals between suits for years. “There are still ongoing problems with waterproof in spacesuit caps after EVA completion or even, in some cases, during EVA,” Helms told the ASAP meeting, without a clear cause. Aside from adding pads, he said engineers are learning the “normal humidity level” standard suit.
Water leaks, he suggested, are a testament to the fact that the suits of the past years are about to end their useful lives. Changing suits has been a long-standing concern for ASAP and others, including the organization’s inspector general. NASA is focusing on a new spacesuit, called the Xemu, of the Artemis lunar missile and has proposed steps to extend the life of modern space suits by 2028.
“The current plan is to extend the modernization of EMU by 2028; however, it is becoming increasingly clear that the practical life of current EVA suits is limited,” the panel noted in its annual report published in January. “New suits are needed not only for future exploration but also for their current space. NASA cannot keep the necessary, continuous activities of low-Earth orbit without fully operational EVA suits”