Astrononauts floating 200 miles above the Earth will make emergency spacewalks to fix a coolant leak on the International Space Station. The first walk is scheduled for tomorrow.
Liquid ammonia, used to cool the system that converts solar energy to electric power for the football-field-sized station, is dribbling into space, and while the problem is described as “serious” but not life-threatening to the ISS crew, the situation is tense.
Geekosystem reports that the leak “may be more severe than initially thought.” It was a minor issue until Thursday night, “when the rotation of the solar panels seemed to worsen the leak.”
The leak, likely caused by a tiny piece of debris striking the station, has been persistent but extremely slow since 2006. In November of 2012, space station astronauts made a successful spacewalk to address the leak, but the problem persists and escalated this week.
According the howmanypeopleareinspacerightnow.com, the other four crew members onboard the ISS are:
Commander Chris Hadfield of Canada, and three Russians: flight engineers Roman Romanenko, Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin.