Clogged Plumbing Nearly Kills Astronaut

Plumbing malfunctions can be deadly serious in space and shouldn’t be taken lightly on earth either

clogged plumbing spacesuitLast summer, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano nearly drowned during a spacewalk as the helmet of his spacesuit filled with water. Fortunately, he was able to navigate blindly back to the airlock and reenter the International Space Station.

Parmitano’s spacesuit had actually leaked the week before as well, but teams on earth misdiagnosed the problem as a leaky drinking bag. This known problem was not considered life threatening, so Parmitano was cleared to continue with his spacewalks and experiments. After the second leak, however, it was clear that the drinking bag was not the problem and something far more serious and dangerous was going on.

NASA recently released a report suggesting that the flooding was caused by clogged plumbing in the spacesuit. According to the ISS’s Mishap Investigation Board, the most likely cause of the clog was aluminum silicate debris, which lodged in a water pipe. This forced water into the ventilation system and then into Parmitano’s helmet. The exact source of the debris is still unknown, but experts conjecture it came from the sublimator, which is a life-support component designed to keep the spacesuit at a comfortable temperature.

Down on earth, clogged pipes are far from a life and death matter. However, they do still pose significant risks and can cause damage to your property if not addressed promptly and properly. Besides the obvious water damage caused by overflowing drains and plumbing fixtures, you may also face health issues if the water is contaminated with sewage. Standing water in a drain can also breed bacteria and cause odors.

Fortunately, you can call the Drain Dudes for fast and effective assistance with all kinds of plumbing issues. Our plumbers have the expertise required to make accurate assessments of the root cause of your drain issues and provide an appropriate and lasting solution.

Depending on the type of clog, different methods may be used to clean out the drain and pipes to restore normal performance to your plumbing. For example, we can dislodge clogs caused by foreign objects by using a plunger or a plumbing snake. In the case of a clog caused by invasive roots, we can cut up the roots with an auger and then apply a root-killing chemical treatment to the inside of pipes to prevent regrowth. If the clog is caused by buildup of grease on pipe walls, we can use a hydrojetter to blast away the buildup. Contact us today for expert help with your drain and plumbing issues.