NASA has created an expert panel to investigate what went wrong during a July 16 spacewalk that had to be cut short when water began filling the spacesuit helmet of one astronaut in a scary malfunction.
A NASA engineering team is already studying European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano‘s spacesuit and life-support equipment, looking for the cause of the unprecedented leak that could potentially have drowned the astronaut if not caught in time. The newly created board will take a complementary tack when its work begins on Aug. 2. Meanwhile, NASA is scrambling to load a spacesuit repair kit onto a Russian cargo ship launching to the space station on Saturday (July 27), agency officials said.
“The mishap investigation board will look more broadly at past operations and maintenance, quality assurance, aspects of flight control and other organizational factors,” NASA officials wrote in a press release today (July 23). “The board’s responsibility is to make observations and recommendations that can be applied to improve the safety of all of NASA’s human spaceflight activities.”
The five-person board will be chaired by Chris Hansen, International Space Station chief engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. The other four members are: