Officers on the ground issued several warnings to Artemyev to return to the airport.
The last message was “Leave everything behind and go straight back” before Artemyev confirmed that he was going to the escape lock. Moments later, he re-entered the space station and was able to tie his suit to his power.
Cosmonaut Denis Matveev, who worked with Artemyev on the space mission, was outside the space station’s atmosphere for more than an hour until flight controllers decided to end the spacewalk early due to problems with the Artemyev spacesuit.
A Russian interpreter said in the live broadcast that Artemyev joked to flight controllers that he “felt better than when he started a spacewalk” after returning to the International Space Station.
Spacewalks are regular events aboard the International Space Station, where astronauts and cosmonauts – the Russian word for cosmonaut – have to leave the space station regularly for maintenance, science experiments, and other tasks. More than 250 spacewalks have been flown out of the orbiting space lab since it began operating nearly 20 years ago, and they are mostly problem-free.
This is the seventh space flight for Artemyev and the third for Matveyev. Both were wearing Russian-made Orlan spacesuits. The International Space Station also houses an American-made spacewalk spacesuit, or ExtraVehicle Mobility Module.
Both types of suits are designed to be completely independent, providing all the air that is the only barrier between astronauts and the deadly void in space during a spacewalk. It contains communication equipment, ventilation, and enough air to allow the astronauts to breathe for several hours.
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