NASA Postpones Spacewalk Due to ‘Spacesuit Discomfort Issue’

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By Lydia Amazouz Published on June 13, 2024 12:30
Nasa Postpones Spacewalk Due To 'spacesuit Discomfort Issue'

NASA’s scheduled spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS) for June 13 has been postponed due to a "spacesuit discomfort issue," as reported by both USA Today and Space.com.

This postponement comes just hours before astronauts Tracy C. Dyson and Matt Dominick were set to exit the ISS's Quest airlock for a six-hour extravehicular activity (EVA).

The postponement underscores the complexities involved in space missions, where the safety and comfort of astronauts are paramount. NASA has not disclosed specific details regarding the nature of the spacesuit issue, but such decisions are made with careful consideration to avoid any potential risks during the EVA.

Details of the Postponed Spacewalk

The spacewalk, which would have been the 90th for the U.S., involved a series of tasks crucial for maintaining and upgrading the ISS. Dyson and Dominick were to remove a faulty electronics box from a communications antenna on the starboard side of the station.

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This task is vital for ensuring the reliability of the ISS’s communication systems, which are essential for the station's operations and the safety of its crew. In addition to this, the astronauts planned to collect samples for analysis to understand how microorganisms survive and reproduce on the exterior of the orbiting laboratory.

This research is important for future long-duration space missions, as it helps scientists learn more about the resilience of life in space and its implications for planetary protection and human health.

Reason for the Postponement

The postponement was announced about an hour before the astronauts were scheduled to begin their EVA. NASA's live stream, which had already started covering the preparations, was abruptly halted with the announcement of the delay.

A NASA commentator explained, "Spacewalkers Tracy Dyson and Matt Dominick were preparing for US EVA 90 today, but today's spacewalk will not be proceeding as planned. We're standing by for more information, and we will share as we learn that."

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This sudden change of plans highlights the dynamic nature of space operations, where real-time decisions must be made based on the latest available data. The exact nature of the "spacesuit discomfort issue" has not been disclosed, and NASA has not indicated which astronaut experienced the problem. Such issues are taken very seriously due to the potential risks involved in spacewalks, where any malfunction or discomfort can have significant consequences.

Spacesuit Issue Details

Spacesuit discomfort can arise from a variety of factors, including improper fit, temperature regulation problems, or issues with the life support systems embedded in the suits. These suits are essentially miniature spacecraft, providing oxygen, temperature control, and protection from the harsh environment of space.

Astronauts (from Left) Jeanette Epps And Mike Barratt Assist Astronaut Tracy C. Dyson During A Spacesuit Fit Check Inside At The International Space Station On May 30.

Any discomfort or malfunction could compromise an astronaut's ability to perform tasks efficiently and safely during an EVA. The rigorous checks and balances in place are designed to catch and address these issues before they become critical. NASA’s priority is always the safety and well-being of its astronauts, which is why postponements like this, though disappointing, are necessary.

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Impact on Other Missions

The postponement also affects the schedule of other astronauts aboard the ISS. Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore, who arrived at the ISS aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft for the Crew Flight Test (CFT), have extended their stay to assist with the spacewalk.

Nasa Astronauts Suni Williams (left) And Butch Wilmore Pose Ahead Of The Launch.

They were initially set to return to Earth on June 18, but their departure may be further delayed depending on the rescheduling of the EVA. The delay underscores the interconnected nature of missions aboard the ISS, where changes in one activity can ripple through the entire schedule.

This extension of their stay is a testament to the collaborative spirit of space missions, where astronauts and ground teams work together to ensure mission success and safety.

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Future Spacewalks

NASA has not yet announced a new date for the postponed spacewalk. The agency will also reveal the astronauts participating in the subsequent 91st and 92nd U.S. spacewalks, which are tentatively scheduled for June 24 and July 2. These future EVAs are part of a continuous effort to maintain and upgrade the ISS, ensuring it remains a viable platform for scientific research and international cooperation.

The postponement underscores the complexities and challenges of conducting spacewalks, where even minor issues can lead to significant delays. However, each delay is an opportunity to learn and improve, ensuring that future missions can proceed more smoothly.

NASA's Commitment to Astronaut Safety

This latest postponement highlights the unpredictable nature of space missions and the importance of ensuring astronaut safety above all else. The decision to delay the spacewalk, though challenging, reflects NASA's commitment to prioritizing the health and safety of its crew members. The rigorous training astronauts undergo includes preparing for such eventualities, ensuring they are ready to adapt to changing circumstances.

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As NASA continues to monitor the situation and reschedule the spacewalk, the commitment to maintaining and upgrading the ISS remains steadfast. For the latest updates on this and other space-related news, keep an eye on NASA’s official channels and live broadcasts. The space agency's transparency and proactive communication help maintain public trust and interest in its missions.

For more information and live coverage of NASA events, you can watch streams on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. These platforms provide real-time updates and in-depth coverage of NASA’s activities, allowing the public to stay informed and engaged with the ongoing adventures in space.

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