NASA astronauts Douglas Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson wrapped up a difficult spacewalk on Saturday (US time) on the exterior of the International Space Station.
The spacewalk became necessary after a failure in the ammonia coolant system aboard the Station.
Heat generated by the Station’s internal equipment and occupants needs to be absorbed and radiated away into space, otherwise the Station would quickly overheat.
Heat is transferred into ammonia fluid that then circulates through pipes inside panels that stick out from the side of the Station. There, the heat radiates into space.
Failure of a pump meant that half the station’s cooling system had gone down, necessitating the spacewalk to replace the pump with a spare kept on the outside of the Station.
During Saturday’s spacewalk, the astronauts got half the work done – isolating the faulty pump. In an upcoming spacewalk, they’ll finish the job by installing the replacement pump.
Video courtesy NASA.
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