NASA Spacesuit Malfunction #WearableWednesday


Some of you may know that I’m part of NASA’s program called “Datanauts” and one of the interesting topics I like to follow is the ISS (International Space Station). So, this post by Techcrunch about a canceled spacewalk due to a suit malfunction was of real interest to me. Last year I attended a talk at a local museum about spacesuit design and was fascinated to learn about the fleet of suits that are used. (If you want to get geeky on this topic, make sure to check out NASA’s fun interactive site called The Spacesuit.) One of the critical things about suit design is cooling, and I remember how amazing it was to touch a thin silk suit, the Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment, which is laced with aquarium style tubing to hold water. Yes, I’m going somewhere with this…apparently the suit malfunction had to do with the cooling system. Here’s the scoop.

NASA’s Timothy Kopra and British astronaut Timothy Peake were scheduled to complete a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk to switch out an electrical component in the ISS’s solar power system. The spacewalk had been underway for four hours and 43 minutes when Kopra reported water in his helmet. Kopra was able to move the water around to determine that it was about a half-inch wide and two or three inches long, didn’t taste like his own sweat, and was cold. NASA was concerned with the amount of water and the fact that it was cold because it indicated that the leak had come from the spacesuit’s cooling system, rather than from his sweat or drinking water.

As you might imagine, water in a helmet can be dangerous, especially since we don’t have the capability to do oxygenated liquid breathing yet like in the flick Abyss. NASA is always safety first, especially since there was a similar situation in 2013 with an Italian astronaut with a critical amount of water. Luckily this week’s situation was more about a minor inconvenience with the ability to research a leakage problem that crops up.

A special shout out to @TheSpaceGal for this report, and speaking about issues with wearables and water, you might want to learn more about protecting your circuits in damp conditions. Certainly building a water-tight housing can help, but some of the new spray coatings can offer a lightweight solution, too. Check out our learning guide on Experimenting with NeverWet + Electronics. Just remember, no fish were harmed in making this tutorial and you should take similar precautions when testing your projects.

Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.