NASA and two astronauts aboard the International Space Station are gearing up for two emergency space walks to repair the cooling systems after half of the units shutdown unexpectedly Saturday. While NASA says that the astronauts are not in any danger, there are only two cooling systems on the space station, Loop A and Loop B.
Loop A shut down on Saturday and all attempts so far to restart the cooling system have failed, thus the reason for the required space walks. According to Space.com, “The space station's cooling system troubles began late Saturday when a circuit breaker tripped and shut down the Loop A cooling system pump module, which is used to move super-cold liquid ammonia through the station to remove excess heat from its systems and laboratories.”
The space walks will take place later this week and NASA is hopeful that the repairs will go smoothly. However, it will take two separate trips. The first walk will be to repair the pump, and the second will be to reconnect the cooling fluid.
The $100 billion dollar International Space Station is currently housing three Americans and three Russian astronauts/cosmonauts. NASA has plans to fly two more times to the space station to finish construction after which it will retire the aging shuttle fleet.