Selfie taken by NASA astronaut Matthias Maurer

The International Space Station will resume spacewalks six months after the incident

NASA has green-lit exits outside the International Space Station after a flight readiness check. Spacewalks have been suspended for nearly seven months since March 23 when a small amount of water was found in the helmet of ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer.

“Crew safety is a top priority for NASA and our international partners. I am proud of the work of the space station and ground teams to keep our crew members safe, for taking the time necessary to close the investigation, and for continuing to find ways to mitigate the risks of human spaceflight,” said Kathryn Lueders , Associate Administrator. for NASA’s Space Operations Directorate in a press release.

After Maurer’s spacewalk months ago, the crew on the space station immediately removed his helmet and worked with NASA’s ground support team to collect data on the problem. The US space agency classified the event as a close call and declared a halt to all ongoing spacewalks.

Water samples and some of the hardware in Maurer’s suit were sent back to Earth with Russia’s Soyuz 65S and NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. The entire spacesuit was then returned with the SpaceX CRS-25 mission for detailed analysis.

What did the investigation reveal?

After completing a detailed test and disassembling the suit and evaluating water samples and suit hardware to determine what happened, NASA teams confirmed that there were no hardware failures with the suit.

According to the space agency, it’s likely that the excess water in the spacesuit was created by condensation due to integrated systems making multiple adjustments for crew exertion and crew cooling at the same time.

Along with updating operating procedures, space station teams have developed new mitigation hardware that reduces the likelihood of such condensation leading to water accumulation while also absorbing any water if it occurs. NASA management approved a return to normal operations after new operating procedures and mitigation hardware were added.

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