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Astronauts To Repair Cooling System On ISS

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the sweating-it-out dept.

NASA 57

GWMAW writes "NASA Astronauts will conduct a spacewalk on Thursday to repair part of the cooling system of the International Space Station. The cooling system is essential for maintaining the temperature inside the station. There are two 'loops' in the system, one that uses water and draws heat from the inside of the station, and one uses ammonia and dumps the heat into space. Ammonia is used because it freezes at a much lower temperature than water. On Saturday the pump that controls the flow of ammonia through the system shut down."

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57 comments

Open a windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33135432)

That's about as cold as it gets...

Re:Open a windows (0)

MrZilla (682337) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135520)

I'm sure you're just joking, but a lot of people have this misconception that space is cold.

The few particles floating around out there (background radiation included) is very cold yes, only a few degrees K. However, these particles are few and far between, and the actual vacuum of space has no temperature at all (although I'm not sure how to factor in virtual particles into this).

I believe that I read somewhere that floating unshielded through space, you are more likely to die from overheating, since you can only lose excess heat through black body radiation.

Re:Open a windows (3, Informative)

TheJokeExplainer (1760894) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135582)

Dear troll, it depends on whether you are on the light side or dark side. You'd be losing your heat via your body's radiation.

From NASA article Staying Cool on the ISS [nasa.gov]:

Without thermal controls, the temperature of the orbiting Space Station's Sun-facing side would soar to 250 degrees F (121 C), while thermometers on the dark side would plunge to minus 250 degrees F (-157 C). There might be a comfortable spot somewhere in the middle of the Station, but searching for it wouldn't be much fun!

Re:Open a windows (1, Troll)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135638)

Dear troll, it depends on whether you are on the light side or dark side. You'd be losing your heat via your body's radiation.

From NASA article Staying Cool on the ISS [nasa.gov]:

Without thermal controls, the temperature of the orbiting Space Station's Sun-facing side would soar to 250 degrees F (121 C), while thermometers on the dark side would plunge to minus 250 degrees F (-157 C). There might be a comfortable spot somewhere in the middle of the Station, but searching for it wouldn't be much fun!

Oh come off it GP is not trolling. Temperature is always a matter of perspective, even in the room where I am now. If your spacecraft decompressed you would feel cold because of adiabatic expansion. Stand or float in the sun and you will feel warm, but radiation would still be cooling you.

Re:Open a windows (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33135658)

Dear troller troll...
You cannot loose heat in the vacuum. So all your heat is stored inside the space suit and not going anywhere. So yes, you can only overheat.
In a mostly metallic structure, the hot side will irradiate the heat to all its body. So if not isolated, ALL ISS will be at +/- 121C.
The space is cold, but you cannot feel it, because there are (almost) no heat transference.
But if you touch, for example, an asteroid, all you heat will be quickly absorbed, and you will freeze to dead.

Re:Open a windows (3, Informative)

geogob (569250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135976)

Dear troller troll...

Reads almost as 'Dear tololololo'. Scary.

You cannot loose heat in the vacuum.

Maybe you cannot lose hear through convection but, in space, you can certainly loose heat by radiation. Deep space background is around 3K and a deep space radiative cooler is a very good and efficient way to cool something in space.

You cannot do any thermal analysis of an object in space without taking the radiative part into account.

Re:Open a windows (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33142830)

You cannot loose heat in the vacuum.

I think THE SUN would beg to differ...

Re:Open a windows (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33144440)

You cannot loose heat in the vacuum.

I think THE SUN would beg to differ...

Well actually the sun is the best example we have of nearby things losing heat by radiation.

Re:Open a windows (2, Informative)

zwarte piet (1023413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135698)

A vacuum has no temperature.

Re:Open a windows (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#33137116)

A vacuum has the temperature of the cosmic background radiation, which is about 2.7 kelvin, unless if you insulate your chamber by putting it in a Faraday cage.

Re:Open a windows (1)

zwarte piet (1023413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33137400)

Only matter has a temperature. Radiation has not, although absorbtion of radiation can cause an elevation in temperature of matter and matter can radiate heat and cool down that way. An uninsulated space suit in a vacuum wouldn't feel very cold on the inside as long as the suit doesn't touch anything on the outside.

Why was it cold in Apollo 13 ? (1)

cstacy (534252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33137744)

An uninsulated space suit in a vacuum wouldn't feel very cold on the inside as long as the suit doesn't touch anything on the outside.

What were the physics involved in the Apollo 13 mission when they were getting very cold after turning off the heaters in the spacecraft, using the LEM as a lifeboat?

Re:Why was it cold in Apollo 13 ? (2, Interesting)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 3 years ago | (#33138218)

Without knowing the exact heat balances in play there, I'll take a stab at it. In a vacuum (assuming no out-gassing or other mass exchanges) there is only one way to change temperature -- absorb electromagnetic radiation (visible light, infrared, microwaves, etc.) to heat up and emit similar radiation to cool down. In the case of Apollo 13, the spacecraft absorbed solar radiation, although being painted white and bright aluminum it must not have been an efficient absorber. And it emitted radiation, peaking in the infrared due to its temperature, which would cool it down. So the equilibrium between absorption and radiation was trending toward an uncomfortably cold spacecraft.

Re:Why was it cold in Apollo 13 ? (1)

zwarte piet (1023413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140712)

Correct, noting that they didn't freeze solid in minutes, the craft slowly cooled down and there were still survivable temperatures inside after days.

Re:Why was it cold in Apollo 13 ? (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33144634)

An uninsulated space suit in a vacuum wouldn't feel very cold on the inside as long as the suit doesn't touch anything on the outside.

What were the physics involved in the Apollo 13 mission when they were getting very cold after turning off the heaters in the spacecraft, using the LEM as a lifeboat?

When it comes to using power, it is easier to heat something than to cool it. The apollo spacecraft was designed to be passively cool in the sense that it reflected enough of the sunlight striking it to need as small amount of heating from batteries to stay warm. If it had absorbed more heat from the sun it would have required active cooling which is very expensive in energy terms.

Re:Open a windows (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#33144908)

That is not correct. Radiation fields have temperature. The cosmic background radiation has a blackbody temperature of about 2.7 kelvin. This is the effective temperature of the vacuum of space.

Re:Open a windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33145762)

There's a difference between radiation and the average kinetic energy of particles within a space. You've just read something on wikipedia in order to sound smart and copy pasted it here. Unless you actually want to explain why this background radiation somehow gives space a temperature of 2.7K then you need to shut the fuck up.

Take any volume in space and you'll find 0 particles there. Thus, the average kinetic energy of particles in that space is 0 and thus the temperature of that space is 0K. This nonsense about background radiation has little to do with the actual "temperature of space".

Re:Open a windows (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#33146062)

Kinetic energy is not the only way to define temperature. Temperature is one of the defining quantities of a radiation field.

Well that's nice (-1, Offtopic)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135452)

I know this is a kdawson story and all, but what is there really to discuss here? Okay, so a part in space broken down and will be repaired. Seems like a pretty routine thing to me. I can understand if this were some unorthodox procedure or novel technology that had never been tried before, but that doesn't appear to be the case here.

Back on topic: um... good luck guys!

Re:Well that's nice (1)

TheJokeExplainer (1760894) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135634)

Speaking of ammonia, the crew on the ISS are in a pretty interesting relationship dynamic.

I mean everyone up there's drinking the recycled pee of their crewmates.

Shhh! Don't tell kids who're aspiring Astronauts!

Re:Well that's nice (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135670)

For more giggles, watch last monday's The Daily Show.

The interview largely focuses on fecal decapitation in space ;-)

Re:Well that's nice (3, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135694)

I mean everyone up there's drinking the recycled pee of their crewmates.

As are we all. Our water supply is finite too, you know.

Re:Well that's nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33137666)

In major cities like Los Angeles or New York, the water coming out of your tap has already been artificially recycled numerous times.

Just imagine how many times all of the pee from all of the creatures that have ever existed on Earth has been recycled naturally. Yeah, our bodies are 90% water...water that was once something or someone's piss.

Re:Well that's nice (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33138072)

Reclaiming the water from your own urine isn't even that hard. It's a pretty basic wilderness survival skill, for that matter.

Re:Well that's nice (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135646)

I think its great that mundane repairs are being done on a real, fair dinkum space station, and there is nothing interesting to say about it.

Re:Well that's nice (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 3 years ago | (#33136774)

I know this is a kdawson story and all, but what is there really to discuss here? Okay, so a part in space broken down and will be repaired. Seems like a pretty routine thing to me. I can understand if this were some unorthodox procedure or novel technology that had never been tried before, but that doesn't appear to be the case here.

Back on topic: um... good luck guys!

That's exactly what I thought. There was a story that it was broken, no shit they're gonna fix it!

The press release. (3, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135456)

Typical Slashdot, a bit behind. This is the press release they sent out on Tuesday.

Aug. 03, 2010

Stephanie Schierholz
Headquarters, Washington

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston

MEDIA ADVISORY: M10-107

NASA MOVES SPACE STATION REPAIR SPACEWALK TO FRIDAY, SETS BRIEFINGS

HOUSTON -- The first of two spacewalks by NASA astronauts to replace a
failed ammonia pump on the International Space Station has been
delayed by 24 hours to Friday, Aug. 6. A second spacewalk is planned
for Monday, Aug. 9, to complete the repairs.

Flight controllers and station managers made the decision Monday night
after reviewing proposed timelines, final procedures for the repair
work, and the results from a spacewalk dress rehearsal conducted in
the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory near NASA's Johnson Space Center in
Houston.

Expedition 24 Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson
are scheduled to perform the spacewalks. The two NASA astronauts will
replace an ammonia coolant pump that failed July 31.

NASA Television coverage of both spacewalks will begin at 5 a.m. CDT.
Wheelock and Caldwell Dyson are expected to begin the spacewalks from
the Quest airlock at 5:55 a.m. Friday's spacewalk will be the fourth
for Wheelock and Caldwell Dyson's first.

Approximately two hours after the conclusion of each spacewalk, NASA
TV will broadcast a briefing from Johnson. The briefing participants
will be Mike Suffredini, International Space Station program manager;
Courtenay McMillan, Expedition 24 spacewalk flight director; and
David Beaver, Expedition 24 spacewalk officer.

Reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations, and
should contact their preferred NASA center to confirm participation.
Johnson will operate a telephone bridge for reporters with valid
media credentials issued by a NASA center. Journalists planning to
use the service must contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no
later than 15 minutes prior to the start of a briefing. Phone bridge
capacity is limited and will be available on a first-come,
first-serve basis.

Engineers and flight controllers continue to review data on the
failure, which resulted in the loss of one of two cooling loops
aboard the station. This caused a significant power down and required
adjustments to provide the maximum redundancy possible for station
systems. The systems are stable, and the six crew members aboard are
not in any danger.

Wheelock and Caldwell Dyson originally were scheduled to perform a
spacewalk to outfit the Russian Zarya module for future robotics work
and prepare the station for the installation of a new U.S. permanent
multipurpose module. However, because of the importance of restoring
redundancy to the station's cooling and power systems, the two new
spacewalks will be dedicated to the pump module replacement.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information,
visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv [nasa.gov]

For more information about the station and the Expedition 24 crew,
visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station [nasa.gov]

-end-

Re:The press release. (0, Offtopic)

hpycmprok (219527) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135848)

It's a kdawson story. In order to have 'dropped the ball' you have to 'be on the ball' in the first place. Geeze.

Re:The press release. (1, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135906)

If this were a Russian failure they would have been out the airlock the same day. They're trained for that, in Russian they call it: .

I think a better question is: what is NASA going to do when the ISS sized vehicle they want to go to Mars in has a similar issue? Spend a few days worrying about it and calling back to Earth then go replace it with a spare and hope the spare doesn't break? Sooner or later they're going to have to break their addiction with resupply and ground based mission control. I say, do it sooner. Make the ISS self sufficient for at least 12 months at a time.

Re:The press release. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33138730)

If this were a Russian failure they would have been out the airlock the same day. They're trained for that

OK, and? There's no particular need to rush, that's why they have redundant loops.
 

I think a better question is: what is NASA going to do when the ISS sized vehicle they want to go to Mars in has a similar issue? Spend a few days worrying about it and calling back to Earth then go replace it with a spare and hope the spare doesn't break?

Yep - because that's pretty much all they can do. What else do you expect them to do?
 

Sooner or later they're going to have to break their addiction with resupply and ground based mission control. I say, do it sooner. Make the ISS self sufficient for at least 12 months at a time.

Making the ISS self sufficient for that long is essentially impossible on two grounds: First, it wasn't designed to be so. Second, we lack the experience to know what level of spares and maintenance are required.

Re:The press release. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33144600)

I *love* the "can't do" attitude of people today.

Learn how to live in space or go home.

Re:The press release. (2, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33145102)

Had I said anything about "can't do", you'd have a point. And I notice you can't be bothered to either answer my questions or address my points.

And that's because you can't do either - because all you bring to the table is attitude and slogans.

Learn the difference between your fantasy world and the real one, or shut up.

I've lived in an environment much like ISS, I know how it feels when one of two systems your life depends on goes down - and what can and can't be done about it. I've lived through situations where a critical system went down and you don't have any more spares and have to bang the system back together with duct tape and baling wire. I know how hard logistical planning, and designing for maintenance is. Ive had the effin' t-shirt so long it's been worn to rags.

You have nothing.

Re:The press release. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33145328)

"Making the ISS self sufficient for that long is essentially impossible on two grounds: First, it wasn't designed to be so. Second, we lack the experience to know what level of spares and maintenance are required."

If that's not a can't do attitude I don't know what is.

Go study the Russian program someday, you'll discover what a real space program looks like. It's not "prefab everything and don't do anything in space without a 12 point plan".

Re:The press release. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33147094)

"Making the ISS self sufficient for that long is essentially impossible on two grounds: First, it wasn't designed to be so. Second, we lack the experience to know what level of spares and maintenance are required."

If that's not a can't do attitude I don't know what is.

No, it's a statement of fact on par with "the sun will rise in the East tomorrow". You mistake it for a "can't do attitude" because either you lack the intelligence or the education to understand this or because you're deliberately being obtuse.
 

Go study the Russian program someday, you'll discover what a real space program looks like. It's not "prefab everything and don't do anything in space without a 12 point plan".

Again with the empty attitude and sloganeering - as this has precisely nothing to do with anything under discussion other than your (groundless) definition of it being 'real'. (BTW, I've been studying the Russian space program for nearly twenty years.)
 
Or, in other words, once again you have nothing but empty attitude.

Re:The press release. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33147230)

Wow, so you're really saying that it is *impossible* for the astronauts on the ISS to fix anything? Really? Can they even have a look at it and see what's wrong or is that impossible too?

Here's some raw attitude for you: fuck off.

Re:The press release. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33147540)

Wow, so you're really saying that it is *impossible* for the astronauts on the ISS to fix anything?

No, I'm saying it's essentially impossible to make it self sufficient for a year. How can you possibly get that I said it was impossible for them to fix anything from what I wrote?

Oh, never mind, I fully understand how you can do that now. You've abundantly and repeatedly displayed your ignorance. And now it appears that such ignorance is not willful, but that you revel in it.

Re:The press release. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33147788)

Nice use of the weasel word "essential" there.

I think you're essentially a self important asshole.

Re:The press release. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33144114)

Typical Slashdot, a bit behind.

Although I see nothing wrong with this general sentiment, I also want to point out that Slashdot is generally way ahead of my dead tree newspaper. Way ahead.

It Begins... (2, Funny)

qpawn (1507885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135460)

From the article: "[...] the Russian module of the system could take control for a period of time until repairs could be made."

Take control?... Open the pod bay doors!!!

Re:It Begins... (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135608)

From the article: "[...] the Russian module of the system could take control for a period of time until repairs could be made."

Take control?... Open the pod bay doors!!!

No need for taking control, only for taking vodka! Russians use vodka in pipes, not ammonia. Much better!

Re:It Begins... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135676)

If somebody panics and takes off in a soyuz without the helmet for their pressure suit, and the docking port is stuffed, will they be able to get back in through an air lock? I suspect not, because the flow in those airlocks is very slow and you need to flood the lock in a minute or so. I don't think its going to work.

Also the Soviet explosive bolts leave much to be desired. You would look pretty silly with half your hatch blown off.

Litter box to the rescue (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135472)

Couldn't they just stick a cat up in the ammonia part of the cooling system? Those fuckers produce tons of the stuff and they seem to want to distribute it around as much as possible.

Re:Litter box to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33136512)

haha what?

...CME radiation... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33135476)

...given the current geomagnetic storms, isn't this thursday a bad time to be outside in orbit?..

Re:...CME radiation... (3, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33135544)

The storm will be over hours before they're scheduled to go out. The last one will hit around midnight CDT, and they're going out just before 6 AM.

Gay Floating Things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33135484)

today's secret phrase is:

Gay Creatures in Outer Space!

Female skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33135496)

Tracy, the female Astronaut will give it a good cleaning, just like she did when fixing the oxygen generator.

Male Astronauts just can't _really_ clean something if their life depended on it, and it does in this particular case.
 

Why is loops in quotes? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33135666)

Why is loops in quotes? If the concept of a control loop is too complex/obscure for the slashdot crowd, just call it a sub-system a la Star Trek.

Re:Why is loops in quotes? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#33138700)

Well, there's one Slashdotter who didn't get it. They are not control loops, they are loops of coolant. When you take the output of a pump and connect it to the input, you create a loop. Fluid is circulated in a loop by the pump.

creators to repair planet/atmosphere. population? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33135678)

save for the rescue of several billion innocents, everything else will be 'different'. see you there?

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never a better time to consult with/trust in our creators. the lights are coming up rapidly all over now. see you there?

greed, fear & ego (in any order) are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of our dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & any notion of prosperity for us, or our children. not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one, & the terminal damage to our atmosphere (see also: manufactured 'weather', hot etc...). see you on the other side of it? the lights are coming up all over now. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be your guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. we now have some choices. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on your brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

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"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."--

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about 10,000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

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"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." )one does not need to agree whois in charge to grasp the notion that there may be some assistance available to us(

boeing, boeing, gone.

Blantant slashdot troll... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33135910)

Science: Astronauts To Repair Cooling System On ISS

When will Microsoft finally produce an internet server that doesn't need to be fixed all the time?

Re:Blantant slashdot troll... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33136080)

That would have been funny if there was a typo saying IIS...

Good luck (1)

krzysz00 (1842280) | more than 3 years ago | (#33136344)

I would wish I spoke for everyone when I say good luck fixing the colling system. I personally hope that the spacesuit doesn't come off during the walk, because, at the rate the ISS has been going with failures, that's probably what's gonna happen.

union members? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33136364)

so what local is the the ISS? i mean these guys are licensed, dues paying contractors right?

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