Washington, DC, United States (4E) – One of two external cooling systems in the International Space Station (ISS) automatically shut down on Wednesday but the six crews aboard were safe and NASA is working out a solution.
The so-called Loop-A shut down after detecting temperature fluctuation. The Loop circulates ammonia coolant outside the station to keep both internal and external equipment cool. The malfunction caused the production of too much ammonia, NASA spokesman Josh Byerly said, according to CNN.
The problem, which could lead to overly high and low temperatures in the station, prompted the crew to shut or power down some non-critical systems on the station except the life support system, electrical systems and science experiments. Certain electrical systems were also moved over to the second loop while the crew search for the cause of the problem and figure out the necessary repair.
The Loop-A malfunction is suspected to be caused by a faulty flow control valve inside the pump module of the ISS, according to NASA.
NASA could either fix the issue using a software or the crew will have to do a spacewalk to fix the external cooling loop.
The same cooling loop failed in August 2010 leaving the station with only half of its normal cooling capacity and zero redundancy in some systems. The ammonia pump module that circulates the ammonia cooling fluid was found to be the faulty and was removed and replaced.