UPDATE: NASA confirms cooling failure aboard the International Space Station

BY newsdesk  December 11, 2013 at 7:05 PM EDT


The International Space Station is featured in this image photographed by an STS-130 crew member on space shuttle Endeavour on Feb. 19, 2010.

UPDATE: 11:29 p.m. EST with the full statement from NASA:

Update on Space Station Cooling System

Dec. 11, 2013

Earlier Wednesday, the pump module on one of the space station’s two external cooling loops automatically shut down when it reached pre-set temperature limits. These loops circulate ammonia outside the station to keep both internal and external equipment cool. The flight control teams worked to get the cooling loop back up and running, and they suspect a flow control valve actually inside the pump module itself might not be functioning correctly.

At no time was the crew or the station itself in any danger, but the ground teams did work to move certain electrical systems over to the second loop. Some non-critical systems have been powered down inside the Harmony node, the Kibo laboratory and the Columbus laboratory while the teams work to figure out what caused the valve to not function correctly and how to fix it. The crew is safe and preparing to begin a normal sleep shift while experts on the ground collect more data and consider what troubleshooting activities may be necessary.


The NewsHour has confirmed that of the two cooling loops on the International Space Station, one has shut down. According to Brandi Dean, NASA spokesperson at the Johnson Space Center, the issue is probably related to a a control valve, but they are currently unsure if this is a tech or software problem. Dean confirmed this does not pose danger to the crew or to the experiments, and that all critical functions are fine.

NASA has said a formal statement is coming shortly — we will update as more information becomes available.