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Eight-Hour Space Station Repair Job Fails

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Uploaded on Aug 8, 2010

Eight-Hour Space Station Repair Job Fails




5:05pm UK, Sunday August 08, 2010

Katie Cassidy, Sky News Online
Two astronauts have gone on one of the longest spacewalks ever - but still did not manage to fix a faulty component on the International Space Station.

Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson were trying to restore the station's cooling system when they spotted an ammonia leak.

After eight hours and three minutes they had to abandon their efforts.

"We're going to end up being in this condition... a few more days than originally planned," ISS manager Michael Suffredini said.

"The challenge is to get through this problem before the next problem hits the other cooling system."

During the spacewalk - the sixth longest ever - there was early indication of a problem when Mr Wheelock could not disconnect a fitting on an ammonia line feeding the cooling system.

The men were able to release the device's other fittings, but when they returned to the troublesome line they noticed ammonia crystals seeping from it.

Nasa scientists back on Earth instructed the astronauts to re-attach the broken system and return indoors.

"We did our best to get it disconnected, but it didn't apparently want to," spacewalk flight director Courtenay McMillan said.

He added it was safer to leave the hose connected than to risk disconnecting it and then being unable to stop the leak.

Nasa's team of experts have returned to the drawing board and another spacewalk is scheduled to be attempted on Wednesday at the earliest.

The faulty cooling system, which broke down on July 31, is one of two on board the station that regulate heat generated by equipment in the US, Japanese and European laboratories.

While the problem was a setback for Nasa, the space agency said the station's six-person crew - three Americans and three Russians - were not in danger.

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