Luca Parmitano became the first Italian ever to participate in a spacewalk, however it has been revealed that his near-death experience that occurred on July 16th 2013 could have been prevented.
Forty five minutes in to the mission, which was to carry out works on the International Space Station, Parmitano’s helmet began to fill with water. The helmet filled with almost two quarts of water (around 1.89 litres) leaving Parmitano unable to clear his eyes, mouth or nose. Fellow astronaut Chris Cassidy, who was accompanying him on the mission, told mission control at the time of the incident: “It’s a lot of water. His head is saturated, it’s in his eyes, as well as his nose and mouth … squeeze my hand if you’re fine, Luca.”
During a press conference this week NASA admitted that only a week prior to the mission Parmitano had suffered the same suit issue but at the time it was mis-diagnosed as a drink bag problem. Staff had blamed a leaking drink bag for the problem and did not report it because they felt that the aim was to focus spending time on science endeavors and that drink bags often leak.
A preliminary invesigation has found that a blocked water seperator inside the suit was actually the cause of the problem, however further investigations are to be carried out. Thankfully Parmitano was only shaken and not harmed during the traumatic spacewalk.
Officials have labelled this as one of the most hazardous incidents ever to happen in space travel history.