Russians abort spacewalk after suit strength fluctuates • The Register

A spacewalk by two cosmonauts working on the European robotic arm of the International Space Station ended prematurely due to battery power issues.

The purpose of the walk by Roskosmos astronauts Oleg Artemiev and Denis Matveev was to install cameras on the new arm, relocate an external control panel, remove launch restrictions and test a stiffening mechanism. However, after the duo completed camera work, “abnormal battery readings” surfaced on Artemiev’s Orlan spacesuit. Artemiev then quickly returned to the Poisk airlock to connect power to the ISS.

Matveev then followed his colleague after completing some cleanup outside the ISS, while inside the station Sergey Korsakov adjusted the European robotic arm into a safe configuration.

Managers insisted the cosmonaut was not in danger during the incident, although we maintain that any spacewalk is dangerous — even without fluctuating energy levels. After all, having a laptop battery die prematurely on Earth is one thing and quite another when a spacesuit power supply wobbles during an EVA.

Since the duo failed to complete all of their tasks, Roscosmos expects the work to be completed with later spacewalks. The next by cosmonauts is scheduled for September 2nd. according to Russian media spokesman Tass.

However, the exact nature of the problem remains unclear The registry understands that communications could be lost and the suit’s ventilation system could fail. The director of the suit manufacturer Orlan described the decision to complete the spacewalk and rejoin the ISS as “timely”.

Space suit problems are nothing new for ISS crew members. NASA has made an effort to get to the bottom of the water ingress issues with their suits. Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano almost suffered that bizarre fate of drowning in space after water began filling his helmet during a spacewalk in 2013.

In addition to equipping the European robotic arm, future spacewalks will also activate the airlock of the Nauka module. The European robotic arm is also used to move spacecraft and payloads in the Russian segment.

Artemiev apparently joking that the Orlan suits could use some solar panels. Or maybe a trip to a Moscow hardware store for a really long extension cord ahead of the next ISS resupply mission. ® Russians abort spacewalk after suit strength fluctuates • The Register

Laura Coffey

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