Smoke on space station traced to water heater

June 11, 2014 by Marcia Dunn
International Space Station. Credits: ESA

A galley water heater is being blamed for smoke aboard the International Space Station.

Russian astronauts reported smoke and a burning smell in their main compartment Tuesday. There wasn't enough smoke to activate the alarms or to warrant the use of masks by the six-man crew. The smoke came from a vent and dissipated within a half-hour or so.

Commander Steven Swanson says there was only a small amount of smoke and everyone was fine.

The astronauts quickly disconnected the electric water-heating unit and activated in the Zvezda (zuh-VEZ-duh) compartment, Russian for star.

On Wednesday, the astronauts installed a spare unit. NASA says it's working normally.

A similar problem occurred in 2009.

The astronauts say they didn't see anything unusual with the removed device.

Explore further: Wanted: Astronauts; Missing: US rocket to fly them

More information: NASA: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

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