Astronauts revealed most nerve-shredding experiences while in space

Updated: 2015-11-02
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Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's distance and speed sensors failed 30 seconds before a high-precision docking with the Russian space station MIR
Famed astronauts have revealed the nerve-shredding times they diced with death while in space. 
This included terrifying experiences such as dealing with a fire inside a spacecraft, getting covered in toxic ammonia and spending four hours outside a spacecraft.
In a series of interviews, astronauts Chris Hadfield, Bob Curbeam, Scott Parazynski, Jerry Linenger and Soyeon Yi discussed their most frightening moments.

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, who was the first Canadian to walk in space, referred to his terrifying trip to the Russian space station MIR.
In an interview with BuzzFeed Science, he said: 'If you hit Mir just a little too hard, then you would break Mir in half and kill the three people on board. So you’ve got to hit it exactly right.'

When the crew were about 30 feet away, the two sensors starting giving them conflicting reports.
He said: 'They're either both wrong or one of them is completely wrong. Now, what do you do? There's nobody to ask. If the crew onboard the flight deck of the shuttle don’t solve this problem in the next 30 seconds, then the whole flight is bust and done.'
Thankfully, they ended up hitting the docking target at the correct speed and potential disaster was averted. 

Jerry Linenger (right) was on a spacecraft where there was a blazing fire for 14 minutes
In a separate incident to the Russian space station, former astronaut Jerry Linenger was aboard during a dangerous fire in 1997.
He said: 'I was sucking down some dehydrated borscht and next thing you’ve got the master alarm blaring.'
The blaze lasted for 14 minutes as Linenger and his crew desperately tried to put it out.
He explained: 'The flame ate up the chemical, melted the canister, melted insulation - our wires for example - around that area. It was a hot, hot, hot fire burning out of control.'
After a terrifying ordeal, the crew were finally able to put the fire out and keep it from spreading.
They then faced the problem of trying to deal with the smoke and breathing in a contaminated atmosphere and so they wore oxygen masks until they were sure it was safe again. 

Scott Parazynski (pictured) had to spacewalk further from the ISS airlock than anyone had ever gone before
In 2007, US astronaut Scott Parazynski had to carry out a dangerous spacewalk to repair a damaged solar panel on the International Space Station (ISS).
This meant Parazynski had to go further away from the ISS airlock than anyone had ever gone before.
He had to carry out the work without touching the torn solar panel, which could have given him a powerful shock. His suit and tools were insulated for protection and it took him four hours to complete.
Recalling the incident, he said: 'There was a real danger that we could do even worse damage to the Space Station.
'Then there was the potential of risk to myself, because if there was any metal to metal connection with the solar panel, or arcing, it could actually electrocute me or cause ignition of the 100% oxygen in my spacesuit.'
Thankfully, everything worked out, and the mission was a success. 

US astronaut Bob Curbeam (pictured) had to bake his suit for 30 minutes to remove the ammonia
In 2001, US astronaut Bob Curbeam managed to contaminate the outside of his suit with anhydrous ammonia, a highly toxic and flammable substance on his first spacewalk.
Before he could go back inside, he had to go to a very sunny part of the space station for 30 minutes so the chemical would bake off.
When he returned inside, the rest of the crew had to wear oxygen masks while the life support system removed any remaining ammonia from the air. 

South Korea's first astronaut, a biosystems engineering student, Soyeon Yi's landing did not go to plan - and she had to 'crawl' out of the spacecraft where she was met by some surprised Kazakhstani nomadic herders
Soyeon Yi, the first Korean in space, was celebrating a successful trip to the ISS as she boarded a spacecraft to return home to Earth.
But as they were coming in to land, they realized they were nowhere near on course.
Yi recalled: 'When we landed, there was nobody around us.'
The landing is a struggle because the force of gravity is overwhelming after a prolonged time spent in space and so they had to 'crawl' out of the spacecraft on their own.
After finally disembarking, they lay on the grass when they came across some startled looking Kazakhstani nomadic herders.
After realizing they would not have a cellphone, they returned to the spacecraft and used a GPS and satellite phone to make contact with the Russian Space Agency.
A helicopter eventually arrived on the scene, nearly 300 miles away from their expected location.

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