Science

Problems with the power supply of the suit interrupted the Russian spacewalk outside the space station

A Russian spacewalk outside the International Space Station was aborted on Wednesday (August 17) after a cosmonaut experienced an electrical problem in his spacesuit.

The Moscow mission control center ordered Expedition 67 commander Oleg Artemyev to return to the airlock after he reported voltage fluctuations in the battery of his Orlan spacesuit.

“Drop everything and come back immediately!” Vladimir Solovyov, a former cosmonaut and flight director for the Russian segment of the space station, contacted Artemiev during a spacewalk. “Oleg, come back and connect to the power plant.”

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Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemiev has been ordered back to the International Space Station after an electrical problem occurred in his Orlan spacesuit during a spacewalk with Denis Matveev on Wednesday, August 8. 17, 2022. (Image credit: NASA TV)

While Artemiev was not in immediate danger if his spacesuit power went out completely, he would also lose the ability to communicate with his fellow EVA, Denis Matveev, and flight controllers on the ground until he could reconnect to the network. power supply on the International Space Station.

“I understand and I understand,” Artemyev said, heading back to the airlock on the space-facing side of the Poisk mini-research module, where he and Matveyev began their spacewalk at 9:53 a.m. EST (13:00 p.m.). 53 GMT). .

“I think we need solar panels on Orleans so we can recharge during [extravehicular activity]” Artemiev said after re-entering the airlock nearly two and a half hours after a scheduled 6.5-hour spacewalk.

Russian cosmonaut Denis Matveev works alone outside the International Space Station after his fellow cosmonaut Oleg Artemiev was sent back inside due to an electrical problem in his Orlan spacesuit on Wednesday, August 8. 17, 2022. (Image credit: NASA TV)

Artemiev and Matveev, representatives of the Russian federal space corporation Roskosmos, were sent outside the station to continue equipping the European manipulator launched to the orbital complex in July 2021.

Before their sortie was shortened, Artemiev and Matveev successfully installed two cameras in the elbow area of ​​the European Robotic Arm (ERA) and removed the thermal insulation and launch limiter from one of the two end effectors or “arms” at opposite ends of the arm. hand.

The two astronauts were also tasked with moving an external arm control panel from one work area to another and testing the arm stiffness mechanism that would be used to facilitate payload capture. These goals will now be delayed until a future spacewalk.

Once fully configured, the European Manipulator will be used to move payloads and equipment outside the Russian segment of the space station. ERA, provided by the European Space Agency, joins the Canadian-made Canadarm2 robotic arm and the Japanese Kibo arm, which already support the maintenance, operation and exploration of the outer part of the orbital complex.

After waiting for the robotic arm to be brought to its stowed position, Matveev joined Artemyev back in the airlock, ending their excursion. The spacewalk was completed at 13:54 EDT (1754 GMT), 4 hours and 1 minute after it began.

It was the seventh spacewalk this year and the 252nd since 1998 to support the assembly, upgrades and maintenance of the International Space Station. the third for Matveev, who spent 18 hours and 20 minutes in outer space.

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