NASA orders urgent spacewalks on the ISS


December 17, 2013

The spacewalks have delayed the flight of the Cygnus cargo ship (Image: NASA)

The spacewalks have delayed the flight of the Cygnus cargo ship (Image: NASA)

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Christmas will be another work day for the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) this year. While many Earthlings are sitting down to turkey and plum pudding, NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins will be carrying out the third and final of three spacewalks announced by NASA managers on Tuesday.

The spacewalks are being conducted to deal with an ammonia leak in one of the station's cooling systems. The spacewalks, scheduled for December 21, 23 and 25, are aimed at replacing a faulty pump module that stopped working on December 11.

The pump’s Flow Control Valve (FCV) regulates the temperature of the ammonia coolant by mixing warm ammonia with cool ammonia from the station’s radiators. During the spacewalks, the astronauts will replace the pump with a spare stowed on an external stowage platform. All three spacewalks are expected to last six and a half hours and will be televised live with a 7:10 am US EST start.

According to NASA, the urgency of the repairs has delayed the flight of Orbital Sciences’ unmanned Cygnus cargo ship to the ISS until at least mid January.

Source: NASA

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past. All articles by David Szondy

Hope it does not end like the movie gravity.


Why does ammonia always leak? So did the fridge in my camper van...


It won't end up like Gravity, they only send idiots into space in the movies. Plus most of the physics you saw in the movie wouldn't happen. You would think considering the budget they might get the physics right.

Richard Unger

If they followed the physics they wouldn't be able to make the movies dramatic.

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