Click the arrow to watch on YouTube an excerpt from the aborted spacewalk.
Today's International Space Station spacewalk was terminated an hour into the flight when water began leaking into the helmet of European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano.
Parmitano reported he felt water collecting on the back of his head. In the weightless environment, it began to float inside the helmet and eventually entered his eyes, nose and ears.
Parmitano was told to head back into the U.S. Quest airlock, and [NASA astronaut Chris] Cassidy followed. Once inside, it appeared the water leak caused the communication system in Parmitano’s suit to fail. He apparently could not hear questions about his condition.
“Squeeze my hand if you’re fine,” Cassidy told Parmitano. “He looks fine. He looks miserable. But he’s okay.”
U.S. astronaut Karen Nyberg and two Russian cosmonauts, Pavel Vinogradov and Fyodor Yutchikhin, scrambled to remove Parmitano’s helmet once he was back inside the station. They used towel to soak up water blobs that floated from the helmet.
NASASpaceFlight.com reports that Parmitano's water bag has been ruled out as a source. “Engineers are still evaluating root cause, but noted the potential for what Luca classed as 'funny tasting' water was because it may have mixed with the anti-fogging material on his visor. However, where the water came from is still unknown.”
UPDATE July 16, 2013 9:15 PM EDT — Retired astronaut Tom Jones offers this analysis of today's incident on the Popular Mechanics web site.
UPDATE July 17, 2013 — NASA has posted on YouTube a video of yesterday afternoon's press conference about the aborted spacewalk:
Click the arrow to watch the NASA press conference.
Below is a roundup of articles about the spacewalk:
Associated Press “NASA Still Perplexed by Astronaut's Flooded Helmet”
Los Angeles Times “Serious Leak in Spacewalking Astronaut's Helmet Wasn't Drinking Water”
NASASpaceFlight.com “EVA-23 Terminated to Parmitano EMU Issue”
Popular Mechanics “ISS Astronauts Have a Spacewalking Close Call”
SpaceFlightNow.com “Spacewalk Aborted by Spacesuit Water Leak”