NASA: Cooling pump on space station shuts down

Dec 12, 2013 by Seth Borenstein
This NASA photo obtained June 18, 2013 shows a view of Earth as seen from the Cupola on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station.

NASA said Wednesday it was looking into a problem with a malfunctioning cooling pump on the International Space Station, but there was no immediate danger to the two American astronauts, three Russian cosmonauts, and Japanese astronaut on board.

A valve on a on one of the station's two external loops shut down because it was too cool Wednesday afternoon, NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs said. He said that at no time was the crew at risk. But some non-critical equipment on the massive orbital outpost was powered down.

"It could be a serious problem, but it's not an emergency," Johnson Space Center spokesman Kelly Humphries said.

Engineers suspect a valve inside the pump was faulty and ground controllers moved electrical power supplies to the other cooling loop, Jacobs said. These loops circulate ammonia outside the station to keep equipment inside and outside cool.

"The station wasn't ever in any danger," Jacobs said.

Jacobs said the crew were preparing to go to bed as normal, while engineers on the ground tried to troubleshoot the problem. The faulty pump and cooling loop did start up again, he said.

Humphries said it was too early to speculate whether a spacewalk would be needed to fix the problem.

The station commander is cosmonaut Oleg Kotov. Americans Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins, Russians Mikhail Tyurin and Sergey Ryazanaskiy, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata are aboard. The orbital outpost, the size of a football field and weighing nearly 1 million pounds (450,000), has been in orbit more than 220 miles (354 kilometers) above Earth since 1998.

Explore further: Elon Musk's SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force

4.7 /5 (6 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Astronauts aim to fix ammonia leak at space station

May 10, 2013

Two astronauts are preparing to step out on a spacewalk to try and fix an ammonia leak at the International Space Station, in a hastily arranged venture outside the orbiting lab, NASA said Friday. ...

Trio takes Soyuz for spin around ISS

Nov 01, 2013

An international trio of astronauts on Thursday took a Soyuz space capsule on a rare trip around the International Space Station in preparation for the arrival of a new crew next week.

Olympic torch blasts into space for 1st spacewalk

Nov 07, 2013

A Russian rocket soared into the cosmos Thursday carrying the Sochi Olympic torch and three astronauts to the International Space Station ahead of the first-ever spacewalk for the symbol of peace.

Recommended for you

Spacecraft Integral manoeuvres for the future

39 minutes ago

Since 2002, ESA's Integral spacecraft has been observing some of the most violent events in the Universe, including gamma-ray bursts and black holes. While it still has years of life ahead, its fuel will ...

Huge asteroid 2004 BL86 to fly by Earth

1 hour ago

Asteroid 2004 BL86, slated to swoosh by Earth on Jan. 26, is the largest known body to pass near our home planet until 2027. But there's no need to panic as the astronomers estimate that the 500 meters-wide ...

NASA craft set to beam home close-ups of Pluto

16 hours ago

Nine years after leaving Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft is at last drawing close to Pluto and on Sunday was expected to start shooting photographs of the dwarf planet.

Elon Musk's SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force

Jan 25, 2015

A spacecraft company run by billionaire Elon Musk has dropped a lawsuit alleging the U.S. Air Force improperly awarded a contract to launch military satellites to a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed ...

NASA spacecraft almost to Pluto: Smile for the camera!

Jan 23, 2015

It's showtime for Pluto. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has traveled 3 billion miles and is nearing the end of its nine-year journey to Pluto. Sunday, it begins photographing the mysterious, unexplored, icy ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.