WASHINGTON (WJZ)—NASA gives the green light for an emergency spacewalk to fix an external cooling system.
As Christie Ileto explains, two astronauts aboard the International Space Station have a massive repair job ahead of them.
Unscheduled repairs to the International Space Station start Saturday. Last Wednesday, one of the space station’s two cooling lines became too cold, causing half of the cooling system to stop working.
After spending days trying to fix the problem, American astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins will be tasked with making repairs to a bad pump on an external cooling system.
“NASA originally hoped to do a software repair.In other words, put a patch up in the computer system and let them work around the problem. They’ve decided they really can’t do that,” a NASA representative said.
Repairs will require two, if not three, spacewalks on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday.
“To simply replace this refrigerator size pump module and put a new one on board,”a NASA representative said.
NASA says ammonia runs through the cooling system lines, which gets rid of the heat made by onboard equipment.
But this isn’t the first time it’s stopped working. The last time the cooling unit had to be fixed was August 2010. NASA says right now the six-man crew is safe but wants the cooling system properly working in case there’s another problem.
“If they lost the other lube, the crew would be forced to come home because you have to have cooling to get rid of the heat from all those electronic systems on board,” a NASA representative said.
NASA says they’re confident the fix can be made. In the meantime, the crew has turned off all non-essential equipment, including science experiments.
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