A bubble of toxic coolant suddenly ends a Russian spacewalk on the International Space Station

A bubble of coolant leaked from a radiator attached to the International Space Station (ISS), endangering the ongoing spacewalk of Russian cosmonauts on Wednesday.

Astronauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub exited the International Space Station and began their spacewalk at 1:49 p.m. ET. During the nearly eight-hour spacewalk, the two men were inspecting a spare coolant leak in Russia’s Nauka Laboratory module when remaining coolant emerged from the site of the leak, NASA said. books In a blog post.

Spacewalking astronauts were asked to leave the area immediately out of fear for their safety, although NASA later revealed that the coolant had not leaked into their suits. Before returning to the airlock at Poisc, the astronauts wiped down their suits and instruments “for signs of coolant and wiped down any coolant as necessary,” NASA wrote.

“The astronauts also wiped down their suits and instruments as usual after recompression to reduce the introduction of trace contaminants into the space station environment,” the space agency added. “An additional filtration process will then be used inside the space station to quickly clean the atmosphere of any remaining traces of pollutants.”

On October 9, flight controllers at NASA’s Mission Control Center observed the plane The spare radiator in the Russian Nauka unit was leaking coolant To low Earth orbit. Although the main coolant was still operating normally and did not disrupt ISS operations, the leak did. Two NASA spacewalks delayed Engineers reviewed the accident data.

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During Wednesday’s spacewalk, the astronauts installed a synthetic radar communications system and launched a nanosatellite to test solar sail technology. The astronauts were also supposed to isolate the leaking coolant, but they were unable to do so because of the leaking coolant bubble that spilled out of it.

The spare coolant was delivered to the International Space Station in 2010, and was transferred to the Nauka module during Roscosmos’ spacewalk in April. The module itself was added to the International Space Station in July 2021.

This is the third time a leak has occurred from Russian devices linked to the International Space Station. In December 2022, ground teams conducted monitoring Fountain of particles Streaming from a Soyuz spacecraft docked with the International Space Station. Russia then attributed the first leak to A Small meteorite strike on the spacecraft. But soon after, A The Russian Progress 82 cargo ship docked at the International Space Station also began leaking coolant In February. The Russian Space Agency once again claimed this to be the case Caused by an external influenceBut now with the third incident, it’s hard not to question the safety of the devices themselves.

So far, NASA claims it’s business as usual aboard the International Space Station. A postponed spacewalk has been rescheduled for October 30, and NASA astronauts Loral O’Hara and Yasmine Moghbeli are still ready to venture outside the space station despite their astronauts’ spacewalk accident.

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