My eyes are closed as I listen to Chris counting down the atmospheric pressure inside the airlock – it’s close to zero now. But I’m not tired – quite the reverse! I feel fully charged, as if electricity and not blood were running through my veins. I just want to make sure I experience and remember everything. I’m mentally preparing myself to open the door because I will be the first to exit the Station this time round. Maybe it’s just as well that it’s night time: at least there won’t be anything to distract me.
So begins ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s account of his July 16 spacewalk that nearly ended in disaster. With the distance of a few weeks, Parmitano was apparently ready to tell us what it was like to be inside that helmet as it filled with water.
At this exact moment, just as I’m thinking about how to uncoil the cable neatly (it is moving around like a thing possessed in the weightlessness), I ‘feel’ that something is wrong. The unexpected sensation of water at the back of my neck surprises me – and I’m in a place where I’d rather not be surprised…
Read the remainder of Parmitano’s account on his blog