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Russian spacewalk ends earlier due to spacesuit power problem

A Russian spacewalk yesterday to continue the configuration of Europe’s robot arm for the Russian half of ISS was cut short after four hours when the power system in Oleg Artemyev’s spacesuit begin producing unexpected “voltage fluctuations.”

“I have a message, voltage low,” Artemyev radioed Russian ground controllers around 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT). An engineer at Russia’s mission control center near Moscow warned Artemyev he would lose communications if his suit ran out of power.

Russian flight director Vladimir Solovyov then jumped on the line to tell Artemyev to head back to the safety of the airlock. “Oleg, this is Solovyov,” he said. “Drop everything and start going back (to the airlock) right away. Oleg, go back and connect to station power.”

This problem occurred about two hours into the spacewalk. The second astronaut, Denis Matveev, continued working at the robot arm for another two hours before mission control ordered him to end the walk early.

According to Russian officials, Artemyev was never in any danger, though the urgency in which he was ordered to come inside suggests otherwise. According to another news report, a power loss could have also shut down the spacesuit’s “pumps and the fan.”

Conscious Choice cover

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Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


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  • V-Man

    So they left a guy alone outside, for two hours, working without a backup? What happens if he gets in trouble? Bonk his head or something?

  • V-Man: that’s a very good point. But, I have noticed that Western safety standards are not global. I’ve seen practices that make me cringe, but not my place to say, at the moment.

    “Artemyev was never in any danger, though the urgency in which he was ordered to come inside suggests otherwise.”

    I would think that if your spacesuit is failing, in space, you are in danger.

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