Feeds

PERIL in ORBIT: Emergency spacewalk as ISS takes a leak

'This is unexpected, Dad is not unprepared' son of strumming commander tells El Reg

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) is preparing for an emergency spacewalk as early as tomorrow to fix an ammonia leak from the cooling system.

Commander Chris Hadfield reported seeing small white flakes floating away from the P6 truss structure of the ISS last night. Mission Control confirmed that the ammonia used to cool the station's power channels, which provide electricity to all of its systems, was escaping and the stream was increasing.

Cmdr Hadfield's son Evan told The Register that he wasn't worried about any danger to the ISS crew.

"Although this is unexpected, Dad is not unprepared. Only when a problem occurs that he is not prepared for will I feel truly nervous. Right now it is a car full of mechanics that is leaking a bit of oil. I have absolute faith in their ability to fix it," he said.

However, Vladimir Solovyov, flight director for the Russian side of the orbiting science lab, was slightly more stern. "They have a serious defect, very serious," Solovyov told the Interfax news agency.

The ammonia loop is the same one that spacewalkers already tried to fix during an outing last November, although NASA doesn't know if the leak is from the same spot in the complex system.

Now crew members Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn, who have both spacewalked before, are getting ready to head out the airlock to help engineers figure out where the ammonia is streaming from.

Cmdr Hadfield, known for tweeting pics of Earth and recording music in space among other talents, was in good spirits this morning despite the leak. He declared:

NASA said that the crew are in no danger and the US space agency has already managed to reconfigure the station's power systems to transfer the electrical load before the coolant runs out.

Evan said Cmdr Hadfield was understandably "a bit busy right now" but the crew onboard and on the ground were "among the most capable humans on the planet" and there was no one he trusted more to sort the leak out.

There has been no word yet on whether Hadfield, Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Ramanenko can head home on Monday as planned. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.