NASA investigates astronaut's near-drowning in space

Tests run on spacesuit that leaked water

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:27:29 AM EST   Updated On: Aug 27 2013 03:26:35 PM EDT
Astronaut helmet with water
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -

The mystery of NASA's leaky spacesuit continues.

[VIEW FULL NASA VIDEO AT BOTTOM OF STORY]

On Tuesday, International Space Station astronauts turned on the suit that leaked water last month and almost led to the first-ever drowning in orbit. This time, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano was safely outside his suit. It's a good thing: Big jiggly blobs of water sloshed around inside the empty helmet during the test, just as it did on his July 16 spacewalk.

NASA says it's good the problem reappeared. That should make it easier for engineers to determine the cause. The astronauts will remove suspect pieces and, possibly, return them on the next three-man Soyuz spacecraft bound for Earth next month.

Engineers are zeroing in on the backpack that contains life-support equipment, including water for suit cooling.