NASA Scrubs Spacewalk

NASA Scrubs Spacewalk

A spacewalk at the International Space Station this morning was scrubbed because of a “spacesuit discomfort” issue. The two NASA astronauts, Tracy Dyson and Matt Dominick, were scheduled to conduct a 6.5 hour spacewalk or Extravehicular Activity (EVA), the first of three planned over the next three weeks. This evening NASA posted a new spacewalk schedule, but refused to say anything more about the reason, citing the “crew member’s personal privacy.”

NASA provides live TV coverage of spacewalks beginning as the astronauts are suiting up and continuing until they are back inside. This spacewalk, NASA’s 90th on the ISS, was intended to start at 8:00 am ET and TV coverage began at 6:30 am ET.

Dyson and Dominick were in their suits inside the Quest airlock. Except for running about half an hour behind schedule, all appeared to be proceeding well when something happened and the decision was made to scrub. They began doffing their suits at 7:25 am ET (6:25 am Central Time).

NASA Public Affairs Officer Leah Cheshier who was providing live commentary reported that the problem was a “suit discomfort issue.” NASA issued two posts on the ISS blog and also tweeted the news on X (@space_station).

This evening NASA posted a schedule update on the ISS blog saying the next spacewalk will be June 24 with another on July 2.  Those were the dates for the second and third spacewalks in this series. Boeing’s Starliner capsule is currently docked at the ISS as part of the Crew Flight Test (CFT). It is expected to depart on June 18 so waiting until June 24 puts the spacewalk past that activity.

The post said nothing about why today’s spacewalk was scrubbed other than spacesuit discomfort.  In response to a query from, NASA replied it “is unable to provide additional details due to the crew member’s personal privacy.”

Dyson and Dominick’s assignment was to remove a faulty electronic box and collect samples of microorganisms near vents from the interior of the ISS to determine what can survive the harsh space environment. This will be the third attempt to remove the “radio frequency group” electronic box, which was not designed to be detached from the stanchion to which it’s attached, but engineers on Earth want to examine why it degraded. The plan is to bring it back on a SpaceX Cargo Dragon, but first they have to get it into the space station and it won’t fit in the airlock while connected to the stanchion.

NASA’s spacesuits or Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs) are about 40 years old and have been the source of problems in the past. Collins Aerospace is developing new spacesuits for use in Earth orbit.

In its post this evening, NASA said the June 24 spacewalk will focus on removing the faulty electronic box and plans for the July 2 spacewalk are under review. It also said the “spacesuits are functioning as expected,” suggesting the problem is with the person, not the suit.

NASA’s phrasing leaves open which astronaut reported the spacesuit discomfort, but Gene Mikulka  (@genejm29) noted on X that a Personal Medical Conference was requested by “EV-2” — Matt Dominick.

Dominick is on his first spaceflight. Chosen with the 2017 class of astronauts, he is commander of Crew-8, which arrived at the ISS on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour on March 5.

Dyson arrived on the ISS on March 25 aboard Russia’s Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft, a few days later than planned after their first launch attempt scrubbed seconds before liftoff.  Selected as a NASA astronaut in 1998, she spent 188 days in space on her first two missions: a 14-day space shuttle flight in 2007 and 174 days on the ISS in 2010. She made three spacewalks during her first ISS stay.

Note: This situation is completely unrelated to a NASA miscommunication yesterday when audio of a simulation on Earth was inadvertently aired on NASA’s livestream indicating a crew member was in medical distress. The ISS crew was actually sleeping at the time. 

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