Saturday, May 11, 2013


NASA:Possible spacewalk to repair ammonia leak on space station

WASHINGTON, - Astronauts on the International Space Station were preparing for a possible spacewalk Saturday to inspect or fix a leak of ammonia coolant leak in the orbiting laboratory's power system, U.S. space agency NASA said Friday.

"Mission managers are discussing the information that was gathered overnight about the leak on the far left-side of the station's truss structure, called the P6 with P standing for port, " NASA said in a statement.

"A final decision on whether to go forward with a spacewalk is not expected until late tonight."

NASA emphasized that the six-member crew known as Expedition 35 were not in danger, and the station continues to operate normally.

The incident began on late Thursday morning, when the space station's astronauts reported "seeing small white flakes" -- frozen ammonia coolant -- floating away from an area of the station's P6 truss structure.

Upon a further inspection, it is confirmed that the rate of the ammonia leaking from this section of the cooling system increased.

According to NASA, this ammonia loop is the same one that spacewalkers attempted to troubleshoot a leak on during a spacewalk on Nov. 1, 2012. However, it is not yet known whether this increased ammonia flow is from the same leak.

Astronauts Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn were now preparing for the possible spacewalk to inspect the area it appears the leak is originating from, and potentially make repairs to the leaking ammonia cooling loop, said NASA.

Cassidy and Marshburn have each conducted three spacewalks, all in 2009.

They collaborated on two of those spacewalks.
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