Russian spacewalkers dodge leaking coolant from damaged radiator

Russian spacewalkers dodge leaking coolant from damaged radiator
Russian spacewalkers dodge leaking coolant from damaged radiator

Two Russian spacewalkers floated exterior the Worldwide House Station Wednesday and remoted a leaking radiator as deliberate, apparently inflicting residual coolant nonetheless trapped inside to make its strategy to the leak web site and spew out into area.

Cosmonaut deliberate to sop up the pooling coolant with a material towel, however was informed to go away the realm instantly when he reported a number of the liquid had made it onto a security tether. He stated none had reached his swimsuit.

The tether was secured in a bag and procedures had been already in place to verify the cosmonauts’ spacesuits had been away from any such contamination earlier than they re-entered the area station on the finish of the spacewalk.

Within the meantime, Kononenko and crewmate Nikolai Chub pressed forward with work to connect a small artificial aperture radar antenna to the hull of the Nauka module. Certainly one of its 4 panels failed to totally deploy and lock in place, and officers stated changes can be made in a future spacewalk.

Lastly, Kononenko and Chub launched a small student-built “nanosatellite,” however the photo voltaic sail propulsion system it was designed to check didn’t deploy. After making a last try to coax the radar panel into place, the cosmonauts known as it a day.

Kononenko, making his sixth spacewalk, and Chub, making his first, started the tour at 1:49 p.m. EDT after they opened the aspect hatch of the Poisk airlock compartment to the vacuum of area.

The radiator in query was launched with the Russian Rassvet module aboard the area shuttle Atlantis in Could 2010. The radiator and a small experiment airlock remained saved on Rassvet till earlier this 12 months when spacewalking cosmonauts hooked up each to the Nakua multi-purpose laboratory module.

A closeup view of a blob of coolant pooled around a supply line between two radiator panels. The bubble is visible just to the left of the brown triangular fitting at the corner of the upper panel. / Credit: NASA TV

A closeup view of a blob of coolant pooled round a provide line between two radiator panels. The bubble is seen simply to the left of the brown triangular becoming on the nook of the higher panel. / Credit score: NASA TV

The radiator’s set up went usually and valves had been opened to route coolant from Nauka into its unfolded panels. However on Oct. 9, flight controllers noted flakes streaming from the realm of the radiator. The flakes turned out to be frozen coolant that was spewing overboard.

Kononenko and Chub checked and reset coolant loop valves, adjusting them to isolate the radiator from provide traces and photographing the leak web site to assist engineers work out what brought about it.

Kononenko initially reported “the radiator is clear. I do not see something … I don’t see any traces of coolant.”

However he reported quite a few “black spots” on one radiator panel and after the valves used to isolate the radiator from its coolant traces had been adjusted, droplets of coolant might be seen leaking from a line connecting two radiator panels.

A small nanosatellite, seen here in cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko's helmet camera, was successfully launched from a spring-powered deployer, but the solar sail it was designed to test failed to unfurl. / Credit: NASA TV

A small nanosatellite, seen right here in cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko’s helmet digital camera, was efficiently launched from a spring-powered deployer, however the photo voltaic sail it was designed to check didn’t unfurl. / Credit score: NASA TV

The droplets mixed to kind a reasonably large bubble across the leaking coolant line. Kononenko stated the bubble was too massive to sop up with the towel he had deliberate to make use of. As an alternative, the cosmonauts merely left it as is whereas engineers on the bottom started contemplating potential programs of motion.

What may need ruptured the coolant line within the first place was not instantly recognized.

It was the third coolant leak in lower than a 12 months for the Russians, beginning with a large rupture that disabled a Soyuz crew ferry ship final December. An identical leak developed on an unpiloted Progress cargo carrier earlier this 12 months.

The presumed reason for the Soyuz leak was a micrometeoroid impression. The Russians haven’t addressed the potential reason for the Progress leak or the one affecting the Nauka radiator. However it appears extraordinarily unlikely micrometeoroids might have brought about three such incidents in comparable methods.

In any case, shortly after the newest leak occurred, Russian area company Roscosmos stated in a put up on Telegram that the lab’s major coolant loop was not affected and “the crew and the station are usually not in any hazard.”

Kononenko and Chub weren’t planning any type of restore. Their major goal was to search out and doc the place the leak may need originated and to isolate the radiator from coolant provide traces to forestall any future issues.

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