August 12, 2014 – International Space Station program managers have decided to postpone two U.S. spacewalks planned for August due to a potential issue with a fuse within the battery of the U.S. spacesuits.
Commander Steve Swanson and fellow astronaut Reid Wiseman were slated to replace a failed sequential shunt unit that has disrupted distribution of solar power to the ISS. That spacewalk, and a second one involving Wiseman and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst, are now on hold until after new Long Life Batteries are delivered to the station aboard the SpaceX-4 commercial resupply services flight later this year.
Routine spacewalk activities were suspended more than a year ago when ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s helmet cooling system failed and water started filling around his face. Since then, spacewalks have only been made for emergency ISS maintenance. The delay in completing the proposed spacewalks does not affect any daily operational capabilities of the station.
Swanson completed his fifth spacewalk in April when he and fellow NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio replaced a failed Multiplexer/Demultiplexer (MDM) back up computer on the International Space Station.