Medical Issue Bumps Cosmonaut from Space Walk

By Keith Cowing
January 7, 2003
Filed under
Medical Issue Bumps Cosmonaut from Space Walk

3:00 PM EST NASA update

11:30 AM EST Cosmonaut and ISS Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin [left] has been replaced as a participant on a previously scheduled EVA aboard the International Space Station.

According to ISS On-orbit Status 6 Jan 2003 “US and Russian program managers have agreed to proceed with the stage EVA on 1/15 with Bowersox and Pettit as EV crewmembers.”

Last month NASA postponed an EVA which would have been performed by Expedition Six Commander Ken Bowersox and Budarin.

That announcement came only a few days after televised coverage of the event had been announced. The postponement was made due a medical issue with one of the two EVA participants i.e. either Bowersox or Budarin. The affected crew member was not identified.

In keeping with a practice of honoring the medical privacy of all crew members, NASA has not identified which individual had the medical problem – nor the nature of the problem. It would now seem that Budarin was the one with a medical issue.

The fact that the EVA had not been rescheduled in the intervening month has given rise to speculation that the medical issue is more serious than has been announced by NASA. The rumor circulating within NASA is that the individual “has a cold”. Moreover, rumors pointed towards Budarin as being the affected crew member.

In December, sources within NASA said that the medical problem which led to the original delay in the EVA is nowhere near being classified as mission threatening. At that time, NASA retained some solid optimism that the affected crew member would soon be OK and be able to participate in the EVA – possibly in January – and that the EVA will be done by both Bowersox and Budarin as planned.

This EVA was orignally described as being comprised of various “get-ahead” tasks so as to allow the ISS to be ready to accept and install additional hardware in 2003. Since this is a “get-ahead” EVA (i.e. not mission critical) it can be done at just about any time in the coming months.

If performed per the original mission plan, Bowersox and Pettit will leave the ISS via the Quest Airlock. Had Budarin participated this EVA will be the first time a Russian cosmonaut exited Quest wearing an American spacesuit.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.