Report: NASA could have prevented astronaut's close call

In this image from video made available by NASA, astronauts discuss the aborted spacewalk aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A dangerous water leak in the helmet of Luca Parmitano, bottom center facing camera in white suit, drenched his eyes, nose and mouth, preventing him from hearing or speaking as what should have been a routine spacewalk came to an abrupt end. (AP Photo/NASA)

February 26, 2014 12:26:05 PM PST
NASA could have prevented last summer's near-drowning of a spacewalking astronaut.

That's the conclusion of an investigation board created by NASA in the wake of last July's close call outside the International Space Station.

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano nearly drowned when his helmet filled with water on July 16. He barely made it back inside alive.

But according to the report, his helmet had also leaked one week earlier at the end of his first spacewalk. The report says the space station team misdiagnosed the first failure and should have delayed the second spacewalk until the problem was understood.

They say Parmitano's "calm demeanor" during the event quite possibly saved his life.

The board led by NASA's chief space station engineer issued its final report Wednesday.

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