It has been yet another beautiful yet busy day on the International Space Station. There seemed to be a slight malfunction with the ETCS (cooling system). Yuri tells me that the Soyuz picked up an abnormality on the surface of one of the sub-panels about a year ago, but it didn’t really seem like anything too serious. It was really acting up today, though, so we checked it out. Yuri and I embarked on a routine spacewalk to assess the situation, tethered of course by the umbilical cable that gives us the oxygen and electric power we need for the EVA (extravehicular activity) session.
I tell you, it doesn’t matter how many times I walk out into space; every single time I see that blue gem, our beautiful planet, I am dwindled with awe. How is it that people so small in comparison with this gargantuan and majestic jewel can develop the technology to exit its incredible atmosphere?
Anyhow, we floated over to the section of S1 where the radiator is located to examine the underlying panel. In order to prevent any possible ammonia leakage, we completely shut off the ammonia tubing on the damaged panel. Whatever ammonia might have leaked out we vented out with the same valve.
After we cut off the ammonia tubing, we confirmed on S1′s control panel that the ammonia that leaked out was not sufficient to require immediate replacement, nor was it cause for alarm. In any case, the Mission Commander has informed the HQ of the need for a replacement of the S1 radiator, which should be provided by an expedition in the near future.
Photo by Nasa