European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, who last week became the first Italian to walk in space, reported a build up of water inside his helmet about an hour into an excursion with U.S. astronaut Chris Cassidy. In this photo, other crew members attempt to remove his helmet. All photos courtesy NASA TV
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) - NASA could have prevented last summer's near-drowning of a spacewalking astronaut.
That's the conclusion of an investigation board created by NASA in the wake of last July's close call outside the International Space Station.
Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano nearly drowned when his helmet filled with water on July 16. He barely made it back inside alive.
But according to the report, his helmet had also leaked one week earlier at the end of his first spacewalk. The report says the space station team misdiagnosed the first failure and should have delayed the second spacewalk until the problem was understood.
They say Parmitano's "calm demeanor" during the event quite possibly saved his life.
The board led by NASA's chief space station engineer issued its final report Wednesday.
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