Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Astronauts Fix International Space Station Cooling Hardware During Spacewalk

Astronauts Fix International Space Station Cooling Hardware During Spacewalk

This coolant is used to maintain temperatures for the station's delicate hardware.

Two astronauts, Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold of NASA, carried out the fifth spacewalk of 2018 on May 16, swapping out cooling components on the exterior of the International Space Station.

The boxes, each about the size of a mini-refrigerator or window AC unit, are crucial to keeping the batteries aboard the orbiting lab cool.

Once the spacewalk is finished, flight controllers back on Earth will use the Canadarm2 robotic arm and Dextre's robotic hand in order to install the new cooling system subassembly on the port-side truss of the space station for a checkout.

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"We need to keep the batteries cool just like in your cell phone". One pump got too cold because of a power shutdown 17 years ago and is called Frosty.

The astronauts taking part in the NASA space walk are no strangers to the task, with this being the eighth of Feustel's walks as well as the fourth of Arnold's. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said that cutting off funding in 2025, as the White House wants to do, "would be irresponsible at best and probably disastrous". The other spewed out ammonia five years ago and is dubbed Leaky. It is about 10 times more powerful than ammonia in household cleaners, and is highly toxic.

The spacewalk is the 210th in support of maintenance at the ISS, a space lab the size of a football field that has been circling the Earth for almost 20 years.

A second spacewalk involving Arnold and Feustel is scheduled for June 14.

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