Space Station Repairs Are Made Following Issues With Space Suit

Dec 24, 2013

Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio holds the degraded pump module while the International Space Station's robotic arm guides the module to a grapple fixture.
Credit NASA TV

Rick Mastracchio will continue repairs to a damaged cooling system on the International Space Station on Tuesday morning.

The Waterbury native was originally scheduled to conduct his second space walk Monday, but the mission was pushed back following a minor issue with the astronaut's space suit.

According to NASA, a  switch was inadvertently flipped following Saturday's spacewalk, causing a trace amount of water to be introduced into the sublimator on Mastracchio's space suit. "Sublimator" is the name for the cooling unit housed in an astronaut's backpack.

Fearful the water might freeze if reintroduced to the vacuum of space, NASA officials say Mastracchio will use a backup suit for Tuesday's mission. The original suit will stay aboard the ISS to "dry out" in the space station's pressurized atmosphere. The issue is not related to the space suit water leak seen during a July spacewalk by European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA's Chris Cassidy.

Mastracchio spent about five-and-a-half hours outside the ISS on Saturday. In total, he's spent nearly 44 hours doing space walks.