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‘Urgent situation’ on International Space Station

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‘Urgent situation’ on International Space Station as cooling system fails with six astronauts aboard

  • All astronauts are safe and were never in danger, NASA says
  • Two American, three Russians and a Japanese astronaut are aboard the Space Station
  • Emergency space walk could be required to fix the problem
  • Currently only critical systems are operating

NASA ground control is scrambling to fix an ‘urgent situation’ on the International Space Station after a cooling system failed with six astronauts aboard.

NASA reported the problem about 5.45pm EST after the integral system stopped working.

Initial reports indicate the crew of the $150billion space lab are safe.

However, an emergency space walk may be necessary to repair the coolant leak,

Two Americans are among the six crew members. They are Rick Mastraccio, a 53-year-old mission specialist with a background in engineering, and Mike Hopkins, a 44-year-old U.S. Air Force Colonel.

Also aboard are Russians Mikhail Tyurin, Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy and Japanese engineer Koichi Wakata.

NASA reports that a cooling flow valve malfunctioned, causing one of the space station’s two cooling systems to shut down.

As a result, the crew had to reroute the remaining cooling functions through the one remaining system – meaning that they had to shut down non-critical systems.

Currently, life support, electrical systems and refrigeration for science experiments is being kept online.

NASA hopes that a a software fix can stop the valve from malfunctioning. If that fails, one of the crew members will have to perform a spacewalk to make a repair.

‘The crew was never in any danger,’ NASA spokesman Josh Byerly told NBC.

‘They worked to keep the freezers going. They’re fine for the near future.’
It could take weeks to assess and fix the problem, according to NASA.

If astronauts have to venture outside of the space station for a space walk, the Americans will not be among them. NASA suspended all spacewalks after Italian Luca Parmitano nearly drowned in July when his helmet began inexplicably filling with water.

Engineers still have not figured out what caused the malfunction.

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‘Urgent situation’ on International Space Station

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