15:48 18 December 2013
Last week, half the cooling system at International Space Station automatically shut down after it detected abnormal temperature. NASA said that although the situation is serious, it gave an assurance that it is not life-threatening. In connection with this incident, the US space agency has ordered urgent repairs that aim to replace a faulty pump module.
The first part of the repair is expected to be carried on Saturday by two astronauts.
The repairs will require three spacewalks which are scheduled to last 6 ½ hours each. These will be broadcasted on NASA TV.
NASA confirmed that the repairs would be on top of their priority list and that the launch of a supply ship will be postponed until January.
In a statement, NASA said that the two external cooling pumps circulate ammonia outside the station to keep both internal and external equipment cool. It added that it suspected a malfunction had affected a flow control valve inside the pump itself. The teams moved certain electrical systems over the second loop but repairs are still needed.
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