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NASA Working To Fix Cooling System Aboard International Space Station

posted 12 Dec 2013, 12:00 by Mpelembe   [ updated 12 Dec 2013, 12:01 ]

NASA says it is working to fix the cooling system aboard the International Space Station and that the cooling system's shutdown has created no emergency.

IN SPACE (DECEMBER 12, 2013) (NASA TV) - NASA is assessing a problem with one of two cooling systems aboard the International Space Station, a potentially serious but not life-threatening situation, officials said on Thursday (December 12).

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The system automatically shut itself down after detecting abnormal temperatures, said Kenny Todd, ISS Mission Operations Integration Manager, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

"Again, we haven't lost any primary functionality," Todd said. "There is some redundancy that we are down right now. But, again, that is not something that I would call critical to day to day station operations. Should we have a failure in one of those areas, obviously we would want the redundant unit up. So, this is a position we don't want to be in long term. So, the team is continuing to work through the fault tree of this particular flow control valve. And, that work is ongoing as we speak," Todd added.

The problem appears to be a faulty valve inside a pump located outside the station, a $100 billion research complex that flies about 250 miles above Earth.

NASA officials said the six astronauts aboard the station are not in any danger and would not need to evacuate.

Equipment aboard the station affected by the shutdown has either been powered off or switched over to the station's second cooling loop, including three freezers that hold science samples for return to Earth.

The station has three spare pumps located outside the station if engineers determine the valvecannot be repaired and managers authorize a spacewalk, NASA officials said.

U.S. spacewalks have been suspended since July after Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano's spacesuit started leaking, causing his helmet to fill with water.