At 2:23pm EST, Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins successfully completed the installation of a new ammonia cooling pump on the International Space Station, completing a repair of a faulty module that had plagued the space station since December 11, 2013. Due to the faulty pump, several pieces of equipment on the station, including some scientific experiments, had to be shut down because the equipment couldn’t be properly cooled.
The two astronauts spent about seven and a half hours outside of the space station completing the repairs.
Their first step was obtaining the spare ammonia pump from the station’s external stowage. The pump was then moved to the S1 truss where it was connected into the cooling system. During the repairs, Mastracchio was tethered directly to the space station work site. Hopkins, on the other hand, was tethered to the Space Station’s robot arm. The arm’s movements were controlled by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata from inside the station.
“While doing the connection work, the duo demated ammonia fluid lines from a jumper box that enabled ammonia flow during the repair spacewalks,” NASA explained in a statement. “All four fluid lines were successfully reconnected to the newly installed pump module restoring ammonia flow. Afterward, Hopkins and Mastracchio completed electrical connections to the pump module. Power was successfully restored to the ammonia pump module.”
Before the pump can be returned to full functionality, several tests will have to be run. At the present time, though, there’s no indication of any issues.
This successful repair marks the 176th spacewalk made in the course of either assembling or repairing the International Space Station. The total time also added to the total time spent on spacewalks for veteran astronaut Mastracchio. Hopkins, on the other hand, had more of a trial by fire – the nearly 13 hours that he spent in space on this repair and on Monday’s repair were his first spacewalks.
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