EVA training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) is hard work, especially when you are very inexperienced (like me!) and you still need to learn how not to fight against the suit, how to optimize your movements, how make things easier for yourself.
“If you’re working hard, you’re working too hard” is what veteran spacewalker Suni Williams likes to say. One of many great pieces of advice she gave me last Tuesday, when she found the time to get in the suit to coach me in my second EVA run.
However… easier said than done. For my entire run I was at maximum cooling, with 75GPH of water flowing in my Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment to remove heat from my body. That’s 75 gallons per hour, or make it almost 300 litres per hour.
Fortunately provisions are made for astronauts to be able to drink in the suit. We are required to carry a water bag velcroed to the inside of the upper torso, in front of our chest. There is a straw sticking through the neck ring with a blue bite valve, that you can see in the picture. It’s very similar to commercial products used by bikers and hikers, except that our bag is contained in a non-flammable pouch.
How much water do we have? The bag holds 32oz, which is almost one litre. Well, I drank it all during my four-hour run last Tuesday! But then again, I’m the one running at maximum cooling.
I’ll get more efficient with time and I'll be able to conserve energy. My third run next week will be five hours. Let’s see if I’ll be able to save some water for the one hour that is still missing!