If you’re working hard, you’re working too hard!

Getting the water bags in their pouches and adjusting the bite valves before the run.

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.

Ready to don the helmet and pressurize

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!

Comments

10 Comments

  • Gabrielle says:

    Cпосибо большое, очень интересно, как всегда! I again have question... I though an EVA would be between 6 to 10 hrs; how many liters of drinkable water are you able to carry for such long EVAs? For a real EVA, do they take some water+nutriments or just water?
    Thank you again!!!!!

    • Samantha Cristoforetti says:

      A full-length EVA is 6 hours, plus about half an hour for Airlock operations, which are not trained in the pool (except ingress and egress).
      The 32oz bag is all you have in a real EVA as well and it's just plain water.
      That's why it is so important to become efficient and conserve energy!

  • Everette adams says:

    I was thinking of my fused hip and how it relates to your suit.

  • Besides all the hard-astronautics talking, that are just great adn always appreciated, it is to me a real emotion staring at Samantha's photo and thinking it's happening for real.
    I'm so happy and proud, as a friend and an Italian, to see Samantha training hard to reach her dream.
    Go Samantha, you rock! Continue to keep us posted.

  • Karen Lopez says:

    Wow...sounds difficult. And now I'm always going to think of you and EVAs when I use my running water bag. Maybe it will make long runs more fun?

  • Sarai says:

    Wow - 320oz of fluid over 6 hours? That would be pretty taxing, but then again this is why you have to do such rigorous training! Are you being inefficient with energy because you are trying to do things that the suit does not allow you to do? How do you become more efficient? I mean, off the top of my head, the only thing I can think of is regulating your breathing, but I'm not sure if that is what you meant.
    Good luck - and so awesome that you are training with Cady and Suni!!

    • Samantha Cristoforetti says:

      Hi Sarai, thanks for your interest. I think that becoming more efficient is more about learning better technique, so that you can obtain the same result with less effort!

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