Parmitano and Cassidy aborted their planned 6- to 7-hr. spacewalk as water invaded Parmitano’s helmet through an air vent and massed around his eyes, ears and nose.
On Nov. 10, Parmitano descended to Earth with U.S. and Russian crewmates and the suspect fan pump separator and contaminants that were extracted from his spacesuit’s PLSS on Oct. 24. Most of the small water release ports in the small centrifuge were blocked by contaminants, whose source is still being traced, according to Mike Suffredini, NASA’s ISS program manager.
The backpack houses life support systems that supply and clean the breathing air of the pressurized garment and circulate cooling water.
NASA initiated an engineering investigation into the cause of the leak and convened a mishap investigation board to assess the cause, identify contributing factors and recommend changes in procedures as warranted.
In addition to the NASA spacewalks, ISS cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy are preparing for an unrelated Dec. 27 spacewalk to install two external Earth observing cameras and service external experiments.