(CNN Business) – A spacewalk was cut short just hours into the nearly seven-hour flight after a Russian cosmonaut was repeatedly ordered to drop what he was doing and return to the International Space Station’s airlock due to a problem with his spacesuit.
NASA officials said during a live broadcast that the cosmonaut, Oleg Artemyev, was not in any danger at all. However, the problems with the battery pack powering his spacesuit were alarming enough that flight controllers urgently ordered him to return to the space station and plug his suit into ISS power. Battery problems caused “voltage fluctuations” in the Artemyev spacesuit, according to a commentary on broadcast live Space walk.
Officials on the ground warned Artemyev that he needed to return to the airlock.
“Leave everything and start back at once,” was one of the last messages from Earth before Artemyev confirmed he was headed for the airlock. A few minutes later, he was able to re-enter the space station and hook his suit to its power supply.
Cosmonaut Denis Matveev, who was working alongside Artemyev on the spacewalk, stood outside the space station’s airlock for more than an hour until flight controllers decided to end the spacewalk early due to problems with Artemyev’s spacesuit.
In the live broadcast, a Russian interpreter noted that Artemyev joked to flight controllers that he felt “better than when he started spacewalking” after returning to the International Space Station.
The goal of Wednesday’s spacewalk was for the two cosmonauts, Artemyev and Matveyev, to install two cameras on the new device. European robotic armwhich was installed outside the space station in the part of the International Space Station controlled by Russia.
Spacewalks are regular events on the International Space Station, where astronauts and cosmonauts – the Russian term for cosmonauts – routinely need to leave the space station for maintenance, science experiments, and other missions. More than 250 spacewalks have been conducted outside the orbiting laboratory since it entered service nearly two decades ago, and they are generally going smoothly.
This was the seventh space flight for Artemyev and the third for Matveev. The two men were wearing Russian-made Orlan spacesuits. There are also US-made spacesuits, or extra-vehicular mobility modules, aboard the International Space Station for spacewalks.
Both types of suits are designed to be completely independent, save all air and provide the only barrier between astronauts and the deadly void of space during a spacewalk. It is equipped with communication equipment, ventilation and enough air for astronauts to breathe for hours.
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