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NASA astronaut explains cause of helmet leak that aborted spacewalk

US Astronaut Chris Cassidy explains in a video how a faulty cooling system was to blame for the helmet leak that abruptly ended a spacewalk outside the International Space Station two weeks ago.

Aboard the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy discussed the ongoing efforts to solve a problem with crewmate Luca Parmitano's spacesuit during a downlink video July 30. Cassidy demonstrated the suit and discussed some of the troubleshooting activities to identify the problem that caused water intrusion in Parmitano's helmet during a spacewalk conducted by the two astronauts on July 16.
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Two weeks after NASA aborted a spacewalk outside the International Space Station when up to 1.5 liters of “funny-tasting” water leaked into Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano’s helmet, Maj. Parmitano’s spacewalk partner has released a video explaining what caused the leak that morning.

The spacewalk on the morning of July 16 was aborted 92 minutes into what was supposed to be a more than six-hour mission, after water began accumulating in Parmitano’s helmet from a then-unknown source. By the time that Parmitano was helped back into the ISS, about 1 to 1.5 liters of water had formed globs in the helmet, such that he could not hear, speak, or see.

In the video, US astronaut Chris Cassidy, explains from on-board the ISS that the water originated in the suit's cooling system and leaked into the ventilation system. Holding Parmitano’s helmet, Cmdr. Cassidy shows its white plastic back where the water began to seep in as a giant bubble. The water then flowed to fill in the astronaut’s ears and then came around to the front of the helmet to leak into his eyes, nose, and mouth, Cassidy explains.

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