Tags: space | station | repairs | walks

NASA: Space Station's Cooling System Urgently Needs Repairs

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 11:08 PM

By Amy Woods

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NASA on Tuesday called for two astronauts aboard the International Space Station to conduct a series of urgent spacewalks to repair a cooling line, NBCNews reported.

The pair – both Americans – probably will be on the job at least until Christmas Day because the repairs involve replacing a pump and a bad valve, the report said.

"The next week will be busy with spacewalks, so not much tweeting from here," astronaut Rick Mastracchio tweeted.

The somewhat urgent issue has delayed the launch of a ship delivering commercial supplies. The launch has not been rescheduled.

When the breakdown occurred, the crew aboard the space station immediately turned off all nonessentials, including equipment conducting experiments. The system uses ammonia to generate cooled lines that dispel heat generated within the station.

It is status quo in terms of the safety and comfort of the six astronauts, but NASA wants the repair done right away, and is calling the spacewalks urgent.

The pump that has to be replaced weighs 780 pounds and was replaced once before – in 2010 – during three separate spacewalks.

On duty: Michael Hopkins, a rookie, and Mastracchio, a veteran.

"Have not looked out the window in 4 days," Mastracchio tweeted. "Too busy building space suits. Where did I put my gloves?"

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