Astronauts will only perform emergency spacewalks as long as they agree with NASA.
Emergency in space. The space agency NASA has suspended spacewalks on the International Space Station after an astronaut reported water in his helmet.
The incident happened on March 23 according to CBS News and notes that astronaut Kayla Barron found water on ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer ‘s helmet while helping him out of his suit after a walk.
The astronaut noticed that 50% of her visor was covered with a thin film of water and the absorption pad on the back of her helmet was damp. This failure, in more serious cases, could be fatal.
NASA hopes to send Maurer ‘s case back to Earth in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule for engineers to examine.
Until that happens, the four spacewalks scheduled for the remainder of 2022 will be suspended.
If emergency spacewalks are needed, they should be approved on a case-by-case basis after “risk versus risk” assessments, according to Dana Weigel of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
“Depending on what went wrong and what the risk is to the spacecraft and to the mission in general, we will see where we are with the investigation, where we are with the additional mitigations that we are putting in place and specifically make a contingency-based call and where we are in the given moment,” Weigel said.
Currently, astronauts use safety straps to attach and move through the ISS while performing these tours that serve for maintenance and installation of new instruments on the spacecraft.