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ISS space walk cut short by leak

January 15, 2016

Astronauts at the ISS station have successfully repaired a broken voltage regulator. But their spacewalk was cut short after water was detected inside an astronaut's helmet.

ISS astronauts on Spacewalk
Image: NASA TV

American Tim Kopra and his British colleague astronaut Tim Peake spent four and a half hours on a space walk outside the ISS space station carrying out repairs. Peake was the first Briton to ever walk in space.

Their work was interrupted about four hours into the six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk when "a small water bubble" in Kopra's helmet led mission control to end it early out of caution, US space agency NASA commentator Rob Navias said. "So far, I'm OK," Kopra who was making his third career spacewalk, reported. Later, he said the water bubble was 4 inches long and getting thicker. "I'm doing good," he repeated.

NASA said that the situation was not an emergency and insisted neither spacewalker was in danger. Extreme caution was used as three years ago Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano's helmet began to fill with water and he was in some risk of drowning.

After repairing the broken voltage regulator which had failed two months ago, the two astronauts routed cables for future US commercial crew and cargo vehicles

The European Space Agency (ESA) sent images of the astronauts taking their helmets off after the walk:

and Tim Peake getting out of his spacewalk suit:

Peake, a helicopter pilot chosen by the European Space Agency, is Britain's first official astronaut. The first British citizen to fly in space was chemist Helen Sharman. She visited Russia's Mir space station in 1991.

Kopra is a Colonel in the United States Army. On his mother's side, Kopra is of German descent. His German ancestors arrived in New York in the colonial period, members of the first group of Palatine Germans who settled in Germantown in the Hudson Valley in 1710.

jm/jil (AFP, AP)