Former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman says he feared he was going to drown during a spacewalk, when a malfunction threatened to fill his spacesuit helmet with water.
“Astronaut Tip #217: Make sure your bite valve is firmly attached to your water bag straw,” he tweeted this week. “When I saw mine float by INSIDE my helmet I was less than thrilled at the thought of becoming the first astronaut to drown during a spacewalk.”
According to NASA documentation, its spacesuits contain a drinking bag that astronauts can access by biting down on a tube.
Needless to say, though, Reisman survived to tell the tale. He left NASA in 2011 for a position at SpaceX, where he’s still an adviser, and he now teaches astronautical engineering at the University of Southern California.
“Fortunately, the surface tension proved to be enough to keep the majority of the water in the bag,” he added.