[caption id="attachment_82573" align="aligncenter" width="560"] ISS Coolant Problems Continue to Bedevil NASA[/caption]
International Space Station (ISS) - The coolant problems NASA has been trying to resolve at ISS for months now continue to bedevil the space station. This past Wednesday, a main coolant loop shutdown and is this this loop upon which the electrical system depends. However, the loop is redundant and a NASA spokesman said there is no present danger to the crew. In addition, everyone aboard the station is doing well.
However, in response, Japanese and European systems have had to be switched to use the fail-over coolant loop or be temporarily shut down. The labs that are affected by the loss of the coolant loop are the Columbus Laboratory, the Harmony node, and the Kibo Laboratory. Engineers are conducting a root cause analysis to determine why the coolant valve failed to engage properly. Once the cause is determined, a fix can be planned and executed. The crew aboard the ISS are not being encumbered too much by the problem. It is engineers on the ground which are collecting data as they try and determine how to troubleshoot this problem.
The coolant loop has been having problems since it first shutdown in December. At the time, it was believed that a flow control value was malfunctioning. The problem is the valve is contained within the coolant loop. The coolant loop regulates temperatures aboard the vessel preventing the cabin temperature from rising to either extremes of heat or cold. The most recent astronauts to leave the ISS did so in March and took with them the Olympic torch in an unprecedented gesture of international unity. The three astronauts who left the ISS had spent a total of 166 days aboard the station. The space station has been in operation since 1998 and is large enough to be seen on earth without any visual assistance.
ISS Coolant Problems Continue to Bedevil NASA