NASA cancels spacewalk at last minute due to astronauts’ suit malfunction

Two American astronauts on Monday abandoned their plans to leave the International Space Station for a maintenance mission after a failure in one of their spacesuits.

NASA officials canceled a spacewalk after a cooling unit in one of the astronauts’ spacesuits leaked. The leak that affected NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson’s spacesuit occurred shortly after the suit switched to battery power before leaving the space station.

Spacesuit cooling devices are designed to keep astronauts at a comfortable temperature while working. Dyson and her teammate Mike Barratt decided to remove a damaged electronics box from the communications antenna on the outside of the space station.

«I’m comfortable now, but I’m a little hot,» Dyson said during a livestream of the event after the spacewalk was canceled around 6 p.m. wait. Dyson later expressed concern that the leak may have affected electrical outlets.

«The water keeps coming out,» Dyson said at one point. «We can assume that the water entered this socket, the electrical socket.»
NASA then worked to return Dyson to the space station from the airlock, the gateway to the station’s exterior, while her suit was still powered by battery. According to NASA, the crew was not in danger during the incident.

According to NASA, the spacewalk will begin Monday morning and will last approximately six and a half hours. The spacewalk delay is just the latest in a series of setbacks the International Space Station has suffered in recent weeks.

This is the second spacewalk in recent days to be abruptly canceled due to spacesuit problems. Officials canceled a planned June 13 spacewalk involving Dyson and Matthew Dominik due to «wardrobe difficulties» with Dominik’s suit. To protect the privacy of the astronauts, NASA declined to provide further details.

In addition to Monday’s aborted spacewalk, federal agencies plan to conduct another spacewalk on July 2 before giving Boeing Co. permission for the Starliner capsule to separate from the orbiting laboratory and return home.

The Starliner spacecraft makes its first manned test flight to the space station. But during the first leg of the journey, the vehicle encountered several critical problems, including a helium leak and a grinder failure, which delayed its return.
It is unclear whether the decision to cancel the spacewalk will further delay Starliner’s return.

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