Spacesuit Issue Delays Next Spacewalk Until Christmas Eve
Astronaut Rick Mastracchio holds the degraded pump module while the International Space Station's robotic arm guides the module to a grapple fixture.
Col. Chris Hadfield relinquished command of the International Space Station on May 13 and retired from his Canadian Space Agency astronaut career of 21 years. With his boundless passion for sharing his experiences with the world, it seemed that the Ontario native spent a lot more than 5 months in orbit. On Tuesday,Discovery News announced that Hadfield is our DNews Person of the Year
as he was able to communicate what it's like to live in space through a myriad of social media platforms, ultimately inspiring the public by his very unique experiences. Here are just a few of his most memorable moments from his final mission into space: Expedition 35.NEWS: Chris Hadfield: DNews Person Of The Year
Seen here on Dec. 21, 2012, Hadfield arrives at the space station, greeted by Russian cosmonauts Evgeny Tarelkin and Oleg Novitskiy.
Liquid water in microgravity is a lot of fun, a fact that Chris Hadfield took to heart during his residency on the space station. Shown here, Hadfield is pictured in the obligatory space-water-globule-in-front-of-an-astronaut's-face pose.
Speaking of water, Hadfield used the microgravity opportunity to teach the world a little about how common tasks on the ground bear little resemblance to the same tasks performed in space. As part of a student competition, Hadfield tested the winning experiment suggestion: wringing out a wet washcloth in space. Few would have guessed what happened next...VIDEO: What Happens When You Wring a Washcloth in Orbit?
On March 28, the new space station commander took this stunning photo of a launching Russian Soyuz rocket as the station passed over Kazakhstan. Hadfieldtweeted this photo
with the words: "Tonight's Finale: Soyuz Rocket Launch — the moment of ignition, as seen from their target, the Space Station." On board the Soyuz was the remaining Expedition 35 crew: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Pavel Vinogradov.ANALYSIS: Astronauts Get Epic View of Launching Soyuz
Cementing his fame in spaceflight history, Chris Hadfield (with the help of his friends and family on the ground) became the first person to produce a music video in space: a cover of David Bowie's classic "Space Oddity."Space Oddity: Astronaut Ends Mission With Music Video
But it wasn't all about social media, playing music and admiring the sights -- the vast majority of the time Hadfield was working on experiments and managing the complex orbiting laboratory. Seen here, the Canadian astronaut is a lab guinea pig, participating in the Blood Pressure Regulation Experiment (BP Reg) -- one of the many medical experiments that are essential in learning how the human physiology reacts to long-duration spaceflight.
On March 3, Hadfield oversaw the successful berthing of the robotic SpaceX Dragon resupply vehicle, using the space station's Canadarm2 robotic arm to grab onto the second commercial delivery to the orbiting outpost. Coincidentally, Hadfield first rose to fame when, in 2001, he became the first Canadian to carry out a spacewalk, helping to install that same Canadarm2.PHOTOS: Astronaut Guide: How to Train Your Dragon
In May, space station business got serious when the astronauts discovered an ammonia leak from the coolant system. Outside, the crew could see flakes of the coolant floating off into space. As space station commander, Hadfield helped formulate a plan to find a fix, eventually overseeing a dramatic emergency spacewalk by NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn. After the suspected faulty ammonia pump was replaced, Hadfield tweeted: "No leaks! We’re bringing Tom & Chris back inside. In two days Tom, Roman & I return to Earth in our Soyuz. This is an amazing place & time."NEWS: Astronauts Fix Mystery Space Station Leak
Like most astronauts who spend time on the space station, photography becomes more than just a hobby; the views afforded to us on the ground by the astronauts in orbit have given us a very privileged view over our planet. At his estimate, Hadfield took around 45,000 photos while in space, each one a gem. Here is Hadfield in the station's windowed cupola where many of the most breathtaking shots were made possible.
On Feb 7, Hadfieldtweeted this strange feature
: "The Taranaki Volcano looks too perfect to be real. pic.twitter.com/3b5fr4IQ"
On April 14, Chris Hadfield posted this odd view of a Brazilian river, lightheartedly tweeting: "I'm used to rivers that know what they're doing. pic.twitter.com/41iOcuZmth" The meandering form of the river is created through many years, decades and centuries of erosion, creating isolated Oxbow Lakes as each meander gets cut off.
While orbiting Earth, Hadfield developed a feeling of "oneness" -- a sentiment that was underscored when he reflected on a photo he took of Syria. During a videoed interview, Hadfield commented on the Syrian conflict, saying: "If people, I think, could see the perspective more clearly... (they would glean) that understanding of the fact that we're all in this together. Yes, there's important territorial issues and important personal issues but at the same time with increased communication and with increased understanding comes a more global perspective,"
Chris Hadfield also captured some cool geological events from orbit, including an eruption of the Italian Mt. Etna on Feb. 28.PHOTO: Astronaut Snaps Photo of Mount Etna Erupting
NASA has delayed the second of three planned holiday spacewalks by 24 hours, setting up a Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) excursion from the International Space Station for two astronauts.
The agency made the decision after noticing an issue with the spacesuit of Rick Mastracchio, who ventured outside the orbiting lab with fellow NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins Saturday (Dec. 21) to address a problem with the station's cooling system.
Water may have entered part of Mastracchio's spacesuit in the orbiting outpost's airlock after Saturday's extravehicular activity (EVA), NASA officials said. So the flight control team at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston have directed Mastracchio to use a spare suit for the next spacewalk, which was originally planned for Monday (Dec. 23); the extra day will allow the station's crew to resize the suit for him.
The spacesuit issue is apparently a minor one, and it's unrelated to the frightening leak that caused water to flood into European astronaut Luca Parmitano's helmet during a July spacewalk, officials said. (Hopkins wore Parmitano's suit on Saturday and encountered no problems.)
"Both Mastracchio and Hopkins reported dry conditions repeatedly throughout Saturday's activities and the two were never in danger," NASA officials wrote in a press release after the spacewalk.
Mastracchio and Hopkins are tasked with replacing a faulty pump module that's part of the International Space Station's cooling system. A valve in the module malfunctioned on Dec. 11, requiring some systems aboard the orbiting lab to be shut down. The issue does not threaten the safety of the six crewmembers currently living and working on the station, officials say.
Mastracchio and Hopkins made good progress during Saturday's spacewalk, meaning the third EVA may not be necessary. That last excursion was originally slated for Christmas Day (Dec. 25), but it will almost certainly be pushed back now, if it happens at all.
The Christmas Eve EVA is scheduled to begin at 7:10 a.m. EST (1220 GMT). You can watch it live here on SPACE.com beginning at 6:15 a.m. EST, courtesy of NASA TV.
The spacewalks have delayed the first contracted cargo mission of aerospace firm Orbital Sciences' unmanned Cygnus spacecraft, which was scheduled to launch toward the orbiting lab on Thursday (Dec. 19). That liftoff will now likely occur no earlier than mid-January, NASA officials have said.
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Photos: Astronauts Spacewalk to Fix Vital Space Station Cooling System
International Space Station's Cooling System: How It Works (Infographic)
Space Station Malfunction: NASA Explains Cooling System Shutdown | Video