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WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Space Station has a radiator leak in its power system. The outpost's commander calls the situation serious, but not life-threatening.
The six-member crew on Thursday noticed white flakes of ammonia leaking out of the station. Ammonia runs through multiple radiator loops to cool the station's power system. NASA said the leak is increasing from one previously leaking loop that can be bypassed if needed. NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs said engineers are working on rerouting electronics just in case the loop shuts down. The Earth-orbiting station has backup systems.
Ammonia is used to cool the station’s power channels that provide electricity to station systems. Each solar array has its own independent cooling loop. This ammonia loop is the same one that spacewalkers attempted to troubleshoot a leak on during a spacewalk on Nov. 1, 2012. It is not yet known whether this increased ammonia flow is from the same leak, which at the time was not visible. It is anticipated that the 2B power channel, which is one of eight power channels to supply electricity for station systems, will be depleted of ammonia coolant by late this morning and will be shut down.