The Expedition 36 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station were busy with a number of post-spacewalk activities Wednesday as they continued their work with a variety science experiments and maintenance duties.
Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy of NASA and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency ended their spacewalk at 9:29 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, only 1 hour, 32 minutes into the planned 6 1/2 hour venture after Parmitano reported a buildup of water inside his helmet.
In the wake of the shortened spacewalk, Parmitano conducted an exhaustive troubleshooting procedure on his spacesuit in the Quest airlock. He activated the suit on its rack in the Equipment Lock, began a recharge of the suit with water and inspected every nook and cranny for signs of water leakage, but no leakage was immediately noticeable other than some inconclusive droplets.
Spacewalk specialists at Mission Control in Houston reported that they observed a higher than usual usage of water from the spacesuit water tank through the suit’s plumbing in Wednesday’s troubleshooting that was consistent with readings seen Tuesday when water was discovered in Parmitano’s helmet. Flight control teams continue to evaluate the data in an attempt to determine the cause of the leak.
In other post-spacewalk activities Wednesday, Cassidy and Parmitano worked in the Quest airlock to stow the tools and equipment used during their excursion. They also performed some regular spacesuit maintenance and cleaning duties.
Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg participated in proficiency training for her role as Crew Medical Officer and worked to replace a recycle tank in the Environmental Control Life Support System.
Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Alexander Misurkin and Fyodor Yurchikhin worked in the Russian segment of the station on a number of systems maintenance and housekeeping duties.
Vinogradov focused on the transfer of trash and unneeded items into the docked ISS Progress 50 resupply vehicle. Progress 50 is scheduled to undock from the station on July 25 for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, making room for the arrival of the ISS Progress 52 resupply vehicle set for July 27.
Vinogradov and Misurkin also worked with a Russian Earth-observation experiment known as Vizir, while Yurchikhin conducted the Albedo experiment, which studies the feasibility of generating electricity through solar radiation reflected off the Earth’s surface.