Need an urgent spacewalk, due to the breakdown of the pump on the ISS


05/08/2010

A breakdown in the cooling system is put out of action the space station over the weekend. U.S. space agency (Nasa) is planning two emergency spacewalks to fix a problem with the cooling system on the International Space Station (ISS).

Pump module in the cooling system broke down last week, forcing the team to reduce the power on the space station. Astronauts need at least two spacewalks to repair the ammonia pump and replace it with a new one.

The first of the planned outputs and will be held on Friday. Three Russian cosmonauts and three NASA astronaut aboard the station are out of danger, according to the U.S. space agency.

In the Laboratory of neutral buoyancy (LDL) in Houston, two astronauts have participated in the training exercise on spacewalk, where they rehearsed what should be done outside of the ISS and to calculate how long it takes for the job.

After passing the practical steps to remove and replace the defective unit, NASA has shown the green light ISS astronauts Doug Hillock (Doug Wheelock) and Tracy Caldwell Dyson (Tracy Caldwell Dyson) to start the first spacewalk on Friday.

Without thermal control elements, the temperature on the sunny side of the ISS can rise up to 121C (250F), dropping to minus 157C (-250F) on the dark side, according to NASA.

The first spacewalk will focus on the removal of the defective unit. Once it is removed, the two astronauts will have to move a 355kg (780lbs) spare unit at a distance of about 10m (30ft) in order to integrate it into a blank space occupied before the faulty pump module.

"This is a big, bulky object, so that the process of maneuvering it around and hold it to crew members may require a lot of time and effort," - said Kortani McMillan (Courtenay McMillan), director of flight into space on the ISS.

The team will be allotted a very short time - less than a week - for such a serious job in the open space. NASA typically requires two weeks to prepare for the spacewalk, to eliminate the "Big 14 failure" ("Big 14 failure"), by reason of which the main unit stopped working.

Safredini Mike (Mike Suffredini), manager of NASA’s ISS program, said that the problem should be qualified as the Big 14 breaking, but added that the agency was prepared for it.

"This is an anomaly, the origin of which we are unaware, we knew that one day it had to happen," - he said news agency AFP.

This is - an anomaly, the elimination of which we have practiced for a long time, it is - an anomaly that we had planned. Therefore, we are in full readiness to solve the problem.

"But, nevertheless, this is a significant destruction, in terms of systems on board the ISS." If the second of the two cooling devices change breaks - a highly unlikely scenario, according to Mr. Safredini - then the astronauts could not have been more cool most of the components on board the space station.

But even in this case, the team is not subjected to sudden danger because they could move to the Russian segment of the ISS, which has its own cooling system. It should be noted that prior to November, more than any visits by space shuttle to the ISS are planned. The popular news portal talk about what’s going on in the world.

Original: BBC.co.uk Translation: M. Potter


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