NASA confident about spacesuit safety, OKs third spacewalk

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U.S. space agency NASA on Friday gave a go-ahead for Sunday's third spacewalk outside the International Space Station as station managers expressed "a high degree of confidence" about the safety of American spacesuits.

At the conclusion of Wednesday's spacewalk, NASA astronaut Terry Virts noticed a small amount of water inside his helmet after he was back in the crew lock section of the station's Quest airlock and the repressurization of the airlock had begun.

Virts' suit "has a history of what is called 'sublimator water carryover,' a small amount of residual water in the sublimator cooling component that can condense once the environment around the suit is repressurized following its exposure to vacuum during a spacewalk, resulting in a tiny amount of water pushing into the helmet," NASA revealed Friday in a blog post.

"A high degree of confidence was expressed that the suit's systems are all in good shape and approval was given to proceed with the third spacewalk," the space agency wrote.

During Sunday's spacewalk, Virts and fellow astronaut Barry Wilmore will deploy 400 feet (122 meters) of cable along the truss of the station and install communications antennas to prepare the orbiting lab for future U.S. commercial crew vehicles.

The spacewalk will begin around 7:10 a.m. EDT (1210 GMT) and is expected to last about 6 hours and 45 minutes.

It will be the 187th spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance, the fourth for Wilmore in his career and the third for Virts. Endite

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