Two NASA spacewalks postponed after Russian radiator leak
NASA flight controllers have opted to postpone two spacewalks as the agency and Roscosmos continue to review data associated with a recent radiator coolant leak on the Russian side of the International Space Station.
The first spacewalk was expected to occur today, Oct. 12. The second was planned for Oct. 20. Both U.S. extravehicular activities were to be based out of the Quest airlock. NASA said new dates will be announced later.
The coolant leak occurred Oct. 9 and involved the backup radiator on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Roscosmos and NASA have since reported the leak has ceased with external camera views showing only residual coolant droplets.
“The primary radiator on Nauka continues to work normally, providing full cooling to the module with no impacts to the crew or to space station operations,” an Oct. 11 NASA blog post reads.
The backup radiator was delivered to the ISS in 2010 on the Rassvet module during the STS-132 space shuttle mission. There, the radiator waited for Nauka to launch, which didn’t occur until July of 2021. Installation of the component occurred in April of this year.
Roscosmos said it plans to have cosmonauts take photos of the radiator during the next planned Russian segment-based spacewalk, which is slated for Oct. 25. It is hoped this will establish the cause of the leak and if the device can be repaired in the future.
Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.