As the investigation into ISS astronaut Luca Parmitano’s leaky spacesuit continues, the crew has achieved an important milestone. On August 27, Parmitano and crewmate Chris Cassidy were able to recreate the leak in Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) 3011, at a rate similar to that experience by Parmitano on July 16. This has previously proved elusive, with only low-level leakage being evident in onboard testing.

NASASpaceflight.com, which is calling the leak recreation a “breakthrough,” reports that the crew will attempt to remove and replace the suspect parts on August 31, after which they will retest the suit. Provisions are being made to allow the crew to send EMU 3011 back to Earth on a January 2013 Dragon flight, but if Parmitano and Cassidy are able to fix the problem on orbit, that step may not be necessary.

Below is video from the August 27 leak recreation test:

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Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.