Saturday, September 05, 2009

Live in Orbit: Loose helmet cam ends spacewalk

A helmet camera pack attached to Discovery spacewalker Christer Fuglesang's spacesuit came loose toward the end of today's spacewalk, forcing him to return to the International Space Station's Quest airlock.

Danny Olivas, Fuglesang's partner, removed the camera pack that was flapping from the top of his helmet, to make sure it didn't get knocked off and lost.

The picture above shows the view from Olivas' helmet cam of Fuglesang's pack, still plugged in but loose and upside down to the left of his visored helmet. At left, Olivas is holding the pack.

Fuglesang returned to the airlock holding the tethered pack as a sunset approached, instructed to use its light as a flashlight if necessary.

He speculated that he somehow "unluckily unlocked" the pack during work uncoiling a 60-foot cable from a truss segment to the Unity node.

The spacewalk was wrapping up anyway, with one setback.

Olivas and Fuglesang tried unsuccessfully to plug in one of the two long cables they routed, a primary power cable that will eventually connect to the Tranquility module.

Olivas took over the task of covering the cable's connector with a protective sleeve.

The picture at left shows the camera and light assembly attached to a helmet on the ground.

Click here for more background on spacesuits.

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