A spacewalk to work on the International Space Station ended abruptly on Tuesday July 16 when a water-like liquid started building up inside an Italian astronaut's helmet, NASA officials said.
U.S. astronaut Chris Cassidy and Italy's Luca Parmitano were less than an hour into a planned six-hour outing when Parmitano reported what seemed to be water inside his helmet.
"My head is really wet and I have a feeling it's increasing," Parmitano radioed to flight controllers in Houston.
Thinking it might be his drink bag leaking, Parmitano drained the bag, but in the weightless environment of space, blobs of liquid continued to collect in his helmet..
NASA called off the spacewalk just before 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) and Cassidy hastily cleaned up equipment while Parmitano waited in the station's airlock.
Inside the station, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg and cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Fyodor Yurchikhin took off Parmitano's helmet and sopped up the excess water with towels.
The cause of the leak remained unclear,
Cassidy later told flight controllers that Parmitano had said the water tasted funny.
The spacewalk began around 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) with Cassidy and Parmitano ready to tackle maintenance chores left over from a previous spacewalk on July 9.
Parmitano was setting up an internet cable between the station's Unity connecting node and the Russian Zarya module when noticed the liquid collecting inside his helmet.
NASA said there was nothing time-critical on the spacewalkers' to-do list, which included work to prepare the station for a Russian research laboratory slated to arrive later this year.
The walk was Cassidy's sixth and the second for Parmitano, who last week became the first Italian astronaut to walk in space.
Video Credit: Reuters
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