During a spacewalk to investigate a recent coolant leak on the International Space Station, the two astronauts found a number of small holes in the affected coolant that looked as if they had been drilled. This is shown from the live broadcast of the field mission carried out by Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub. On Wednesday, the two also discovered drops of leaking coolant, a drop so large that they could not be removed with the tools they brought with them. Instead, one of the participating astronauts was asked to leave immediately. He had to leave a tether outside the space station that may have been contaminated with ammonia.
Further cut off the coolant supply
It’s not clear what the holes are in the panels of the damaged spare radiator. Kononenko took several photos of this, which are now being evaluated. During the mission, astronauts must be primarily concerned with cutting off the ammonia supply to the coolant where the last leak was discovered. Once they did, they inspected the equipment and not only discovered holes. Several drops were also found, and Kononenko actually wanted to remove the possible residue with a towel. The contact drop was probably too great for this, and the cord would also have suffered some damage. In order not to risk it, he had to separate it and pack it safely.
In NASA’s brief summary The events of the outer mission were not discussed in great detail, so it remains unclear how serious the astronauts’ comments were. As part of the spacewalk, which lasted nearly eight hours, Kononenko and Chubb installed a new antenna and launched a small nanosatellite. He was actually supposed to test a solar sail, but apparently that didn’t work out. The next space mission is now scheduled to take place next Monday, when NASA’s Loral O’Hara and Yasmine Moghbeli are scheduled to depart the International Space Station.
The coolant leak now being investigated was discovered at the beginning of the month on a spare radiator attached to the Russian Nauka research unit, but it is also much older. Because although Nauka has been part of the ISS since a rather unsuccessful docking maneuver in the summer of 2021, the cooler in question was brought there in 2010 and was only attached to Nauka as part of a spaceflight in order to replace the main cooler there. If necessary. NASA confirmed that since it is operating normally, the leak does not pose any danger. But because it is the third Russian component in just one year, it has raised serious doubts about the reliability of Russian space technology.
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