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NASA Suspects Bad Valve For Space Station Trouble

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:08pm
Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- NASA is scrambling to figure out what's wrong with a key cooling unit on the International Space Station.

On Wednesday, one of two identical cooling loops shut down. The system uses ammonia to dissipate heat from on-board equipment. One line was getting too cold. Engineers suspect a bad valve.

Mission Control ordered the six-man crew to turn off some science experiments and other non-critical equipment. Those instruments stayed off Thursday, while the astronauts remained safe and comfortable.

The suspect valve is in a pump that was replaced by spacewalking astronauts three years ago. Flight controllers are looking at ways to fix the valve. A software repair would be the easiest option, a spacewalk the most complicated.

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