NASA’s aging stock of spacesuits is coming under great scrutiny as the space agency investigates the near-drowning of an astronaut. Wednesday, an investigation board released its report on the July 2013 incident involving a water leak in Italian astronaut’s Luca Parmitano’s helmet. More than a liter of liquid pooled around Parmitano’s eyes, nose and ears, before he could get to safety inside the International Space Station airlock. The report revealed that managers misdiagnosed a similar leak one week earlier.
With an ongoing presence aboard the ISS, plans for capturing asteroids, the first mission to Mars and even a return to the Moon, NASA will need a new spacesuit to make the journey.
The space agency won’t have to look very far for ideas, according to NASA engineer Cody Kelly. Last week, he spoke to a room of science and math students at Tyler Junior College, explaining his ongoing work as part of the Crew Survival Engineering Team.
Kelly said NASA is modifying its Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES) for future missions of the new Orion spacecraft, relying on time-tested technology to ensure the survival of astronauts.