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NASA: International Space Station system malfunctions

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An International Space Station coolant system has malfunctioned.

A valve in one of the International Space Station’s cooling systems has malfunctioned, says the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NASA said on Wednesday that the situation did not represent a life-threatening emergency for crew members, but may require a repair spacewalk.

“The crew was never in any danger,” NASA spokesman Josh Byerly said. “They are fine for the near future.”

According to Byerly, one of the station’s two external cooling loops, known as Loop-A, shut down after it reached its temperature limit. NASA then moved to reroute coolant into Loop-B.

A flight controller said that Loop A would stay in operation as long as possible to carry out “graceful shutdowns of our science equipment. Once the loop shutdown is complete, half of Node 2, half of JEM (Japanese Experiment Module) and half of Columbus will be powered down. But you’ll keep half of each module and that is why the crew quarters are not affected.”

The space station’s six crew members include two Americans, three Russians, and one Japanese astronauts.

As a result of the mishap, the crew members had to shut down some minor operating systems in order to reduce power load.

The space station has been continuously occupied by space fliers since 2000.

This comes as NASA and Orbital Sciences Corp. are going ahead with plans to launch an unmanned Cygnus cargo ship on December 18.


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