Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Astronauts need to fix ISS cooling - Spiegel Online

Cape Canaveral – A faulty valve on the ammonia pump of the cooling system on the International Space Station (ISS) is paving the astronauts headaches. To fix it, at least two spacewalks are now recognized.

on Saturday to the U.S. astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins begin at 13.10 CET with the first outdoor use, confirmed a spokesman for the U.S. space agency NASA. Accordingly, the first mission is scheduled to last about six and a half hours. A second spacewalk is planned for Monday at the same time.

When possible, the defective valve should be replaced, said NASA spokesman Josh Byerly. But emergency was a third spacewalk for 25 December planned.

The valve that regulates the temperature of the air conditioning is broken for about a week. The energy consumption in the Russian part of the station had to be cut back significantly, some laboratory tests were suspended. The six-man crew and the station are but according to the Nasa not in danger.

On the ISS, there is a second cooling circuit is functioning normally. Are affected by the partial failure, according to Nasa, the Harmony module of the ISS, the Kibo laboratory and the European Columbus laboratory.

Because of the incident, the launch of the unmanned space capsule “Cygnus” has been moved to January. The transporter of the U.S. company Orbital Sciences was originally supposed to start on Thursday with an Antares rocket to the ISS.

The trip into space will be the first since July, when the Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano in a spacewalk had problems with his suit. His helmet had filled with about 1.5 liters of water. Parmitano and his colleague Christopher Cassidy kept a steady hand, and returned in time to the station back – the Italians “with his eyes closed, his head in a goldfish bowl,” as he described it



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