Monday, August 9, 2010

International Space Station Cooling System Fix: Partly Completed

"Next Spacewalk No Earlier Than Wednesday"
Latest News, NASA (August 8, 2010)

"The next spacewalk to complete the removal of a failed ammonia pump module and installation and activation of a new pump module on the International Space Station's S1 Truss will take place no earlier than Wednesday.

"Expedition 24 Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson completed the first spacewalk to remove and replace the pump module at 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday. As the result of an ammonia leak in the final line that needed to be disconnected from the failed pump module, the day's tasks were only partially completed. The decision was made to reconnect the line on the pump module and install a spool positioning device to maintain proper pressure internal to the ammonia line.

"Teams on the ground are evaluating the impact of the leak on plans to replace the failed pump, as well as possible fixes for the leak. The completion of the process will most likely require at least two additional spacewalks.

"Saturday's excursion lasted 8 hours, 3 minutes, making it the longest expedition crew spacewalk in history and the sixth longest in human spaceflight history...."

(from NASA TV, via NASA, used w/o permission)
"...Expedition 24 Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock (left) and Tracy Caldwell Dyson work to remove a failed ammonia pump module on the International Space Station's S1 Truss. Credit: NASA TV"

NASA's YouTube channel has a video report on what's been happening with the cooling system repair:

"Astronauts Make Progress on Spacewalk"

NASAtelevision, YouTube (August 7, 2010)
video, 10:05

"Expedition 24 astronauts Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson conducted the first of two planned spacewalks needed to replace a failed ammonia pump module that helps cool the International Space Station on Aug. 7. They will conduct a second spacewalk no earlier than Aug. 11, and possibly a third to continue the pump replacement effort."

The good news is that the ISS crew is okay, thanks to redundant design and some quick work when one of the systems went down.

The bad news is that the folks on the ISS are busy fixing the cooling system now, instead of doing their scheduled work.

Which includes a sort of plug-and-play unit being developed by an outfit in Kentucky:

"Shannon Walker to install NanoRacks on ISS"
Kentucky Space (July 12, 2010)

"NASA astronaut Shannon Walker, who will go to the ISS on Expedition 24, has trained on - and will soon permanently install - the two NanoRacks Platforms that arrived by shuttle in April and May. They will be located it the Japanese module on the ISS.

"Kentucky Space is currently working with customers needing to do low cost, repeatable microgravity research using small plug-and-play labs called "CubeLabs." Each NanoRacks Platform can host up to 16 individual labs...."

But that's another topic.

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