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NASA officials said during a livestream that the cosmonaut, Oleg Artemyev, was never in danger. Still, problems with the battery pack that powers his spacesuit were worrisome enough for flight controllers to urgently order him to return to the space station and attach his suit to the ISS power supply. The battery problems caused “voltage fluctuations” in Artemyev’s spacesuit, according to commentary on the spacewalk’s live stream.
Officials on the ground gave Artemyev several warnings that he had to return to the airlock.
“Drop everything and go right back,” was one of the last messages from the ground before Artemyev confirmed he was on his way to the airlock. A few minutes later, he was able to re-enter the space station and hang his suit on the power.
Mateev, who worked with Artemyev on the spacewalk, stayed just outside the space station’s airlock until flight controllers decided to end the spacewalk prematurely due to problems with Artemyev’s spacesuit.
A Russian translator said on the live stream that Artemyev jokingly told flight controllers that he “felt better than when he started the spacewalk” after returning to the ISS.
The goal of Wednesday’s spacewalk was for the two cosmonauts, Artemyev and Matveev, to install two cameras on the new European robotic arm, which is mounted on the outside of the space station on a Russian-controlled section of the ISS.