RUSSIA: A Russian spacewalk from the International Space Station (ISS) had to be aborted this week due to a problem with cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev’s spacesuit.
On Wednesday, August 17, Artemyev and co-pilot Denis Matveev were engaged in a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk to repair the recently installed European robotic arm attached to the Nauka module of the space station.
According to sources, around two hours into the spacewalk mission, controllers discovered an issue with Artemyev’s suit’s power system and promptly instructed him to re-enter the space station. Vladimir Solovyov, a Russian flight director based at a mission control facility close to Moscow, gave Artemyev the order to “drop everything” and return immediately to the airlock.
Although any problem with a spacesuit occurring during a spacewalk certainly has the potential to be dangerous, Artemyev reached the airlock safely, and NASA authorities assured the public that he was not in any danger.
In a tweet on the incident, former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield referred to the orders to drop everything as “urgent words you don’t want to hear from Mission Control.”
For some time, Matveev worked alone in the absence of Artemyev who was inside the space station, but the Russian team ultimately chose to call off the spacewalk’s four-hour duration.
According to Universe Today, the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuits that American and European cosmonauts use on spacewalks from the International Space Station (ISS) are different from the Russian-made Orlan spacesuits that both astronauts were wearing. Artemyev’s spacesuit was experiencing a battery power issue, according to NASA, which means the suit was displaying “odd battery readings.”
The pair’s project, a European robotic arm, was put into a safe configuration for their own protection, and over the coming months, more spacewalks are planned to continue work on it. As the arm is a component of the Russian sector of the space station, both Russian and European Space Agency cosmonauts will do this operation.
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