Cosmonauts have to abort spacewalk due to battery failure in spacesuit

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Two Russian cosmonauts prematurely cut short a spacewalk at the International Space Station when one of the spacesuits suddenly lost tension. Oleg Artemyev, therefore, immediately had to return to the station.

The spacewalk was originally supposed to last 6.5 hours. Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev would install two cameras on the European Robotic Arm to the Nauka module, move a control panel and remove two transport protectors from the arm. After 2 hours and 17 minutes, the battery in Artemyev’s Orlan spacesuit started to show irregularities. NASA does not write whether the battery actually failed or whether it was, for example, a sensor failure, but according to the Space Staton-Twitter account it would be a voltage fluctuation. The Russian mission leaders ordered Artemyev to return immediately to the Poisk airlock to connect the suit to the internal power supply of the station itself. Matveev had to come along; spacewalks are never performed by just one astronaut.

The spacewalk was aborted after four hours and a minute. Many tasks are not completed. It is unknown if the spacewalk will resume at a later date. Roscosmos itself has not yet commented on the incident. Artemyev has already performed seven spacewalks, Matveev three.

The spacesuits on board the ISS intended for spacewalks are still relatively new. The Orlan-MKS 4 and 5 are sent to the station in 2017 and 2018 and have been used in fourteen spacewalks. This makes the spacesuits a lot younger than those of NASA, which have been causing problems for years. For example, in 2014, a spacesuit began to leak water during a spacewalk, causing astronaut Luca Parmitano almost drowned.

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