Status Update on Radiator Leak in International Space Station

by François Dupont
Expedition 70 Update

NASA’s Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara has been presented with the tools that she will utilize during her upcoming extravehicular activity to swab the exterior of the International Space Station and collect samples of possible microorganisms for subsequent examination. Credit: NASA

On Tuesday, October 10, the crew of Expedition 70 was engrossed in space physics and human studies on board the International Space Station (ISS). Two astronauts are in the process of preparing for an extravehicular activity scheduled for Thursday with the objective of ascertaining whether microorganisms can endure the extreme conditions of outer space. Additionally, there has been a status update regarding the issue of the radiator coolant leak.

During Tuesday morning, the inhabitants of the orbit focused on an array of physics-related experimental apparatus. NASA’s Loral O’Hara was responsible for the installation of new parts and the reconnection of electrical and data cables for the Cold Atom Lab, an instrument designed to monitor the quantum properties of atoms at temperatures approaching absolute zero. Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) was busy setting up equipment for combustion experiments in the Kibo laboratory module with the aim of understanding the impact of microgravity on fire behavior, which could enhance spacecraft fire safety measures.

NASA Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli was involved in the arrangement of external hardware for subsequent retraction into the airlock of the Kibo laboratory module within the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

O’Hara subsequently collaborated with her fellow NASA Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli in the Columbus laboratory module to conduct venous scans. Utilizing the Ultrasound 2 device, Moghbeli performed scans of O’Hara’s neck, shoulder, and leg veins, aided by medical professionals stationed on Earth.

Preparations Underway for Thursday’s Extravehicular Activity

As the day concluded, both astronauts convened with Furukawa and Commander Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) to review the robotic protocols planned for the Thursday spacewalk. Moghbeli and Furukawa will operate the Canadarm2 robotic arm to assist O’Hara and Mogensen during their extravehicular activity scheduled to commence at 10 a.m. EDT and last for six hours.

Prior to this, Mogensen and O’Hara had been in the Quest airlock, organizing the tools they will employ during Thursday’s extravehicular activity to collect samples and evaluate the survivability of microbes in the harsh microgravity conditions. Moghbeli and Furukawa also practiced the necessary robotic maneuvers on a computer to support the spacewalkers.

Expedition 70 Commander Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) aided NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli in donning her spacesuit and testing its components inside the Quest airlock of the International Space Station, in anticipation of the approaching extravehicular activity. Credit: NASA

Technology Research and Material Management

Additionally, on Tuesday, a duo of cosmonauts were engaged in two separate technology studies that involved 3D printing and space navigational technologies. Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub conducted experiments on 3D printing tools under microgravity conditions, an endeavor aimed at reducing the dependency on supplies transported from Earth. Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov was tasked with capturing images of terrestrial landmarks as part of an experiment intended to refine high-precision data to determine the ISS’s location.

Veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko spent the day laboring inside the Progress 85 (85P) cargo spacecraft, which is docked to the Zvezda service module’s aft port. Initially, he moved stored water from the 85P to liquid containers situated in the Roscosmos section of the space station. He then proceeded to unload and properly stow new supplies, and subsequently updated the inventory systems.

Latest Information on Radiator Leak

The backup radiator in the station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module, which was leaking coolant, has now stopped leaking, according to reports from Roscosmos flight controllers and corroborated by NASA external camera observations, showing only residual traces of coolant droplets.

The primary radiator of the Nauka Module continues to function as expected, delivering complete cooling to the module without causing any disruptions to the crew or ongoing operations within the space station.

This particular radiator was initially brought to the space station aboard the Rassvet module during the STS-132 space shuttle mission in 2010. It was later moved to the Nauka module during a spacewalk executed by Roscosmos in April.

Ground-based teams are still investigating the root cause of the leak, and further updates will be disseminated as they become available.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Expedition 70 Update

What is the main focus of Expedition 70 aboard the International Space Station?

The main focus of Expedition 70 aboard the ISS is on space physics and human health research. The crew is involved in a variety of experiments, including studies on the impact of microgravity on fire behavior and human physiology.

Who are the astronauts preparing for the upcoming spacewalk?

NASA Flight Engineers Loral O’Hara and Jasmin Moghbeli, along with Commander Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency), are involved in preparations for an upcoming spacewalk. They plan to assess whether microorganisms can survive in the extreme conditions of outer space.

What is the purpose of the Cold Atom Lab?

The Cold Atom Lab is an instrument aboard the ISS designed to observe the quantum behavior of atoms at temperatures near absolute zero. NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara installed new components and reconnected power and data cables for this lab.

What is the status of the radiator leak on the ISS?

The coolant leak from a backup radiator on the station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module has ceased. The primary radiator continues to function normally, and there are no impacts on the crew or ongoing space station operations.

What technology studies were conducted by the cosmonauts?

Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub tested 3D printing in microgravity, aiming to make crews less dependent on Earth-based supplies. Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov photographed Earth landmarks for an experiment aimed at refining high-precision data for determining the ISS’s location.

What role do ground-based teams play in the Expedition?

Ground-based medical professionals assisted in vein scans using the Ultrasound 2 device, and ground-based teams from Roscosmos and NASA are investigating the cause of the radiator leak. They will continue to provide support and updates as needed.

What activities did the astronauts engage in for health studies?

Flight Engineers Loral O’Hara and Jasmin Moghbeli conducted venous scans in the Columbus laboratory module. They utilized the Ultrasound 2 device to scan O’Hara’s neck, shoulder, and leg veins, with assistance from medical professionals on Earth.

When is the scheduled time for the upcoming spacewalk?

The upcoming spacewalk is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. EDT on a Thursday and is expected to last for six hours. The astronauts will be assisted by the Canadarm2 robotic arm, operated by Flight Engineers Jasmin Moghbeli and Satoshi Furukawa.

More about Expedition 70 Update

  • Expedition 70 Overview
  • International Space Station Research and Technology
  • NASA’s Cold Atom Lab
  • Radiator Leak in Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module
  • Roscosmos Official Updates
  • Canadarm2 Robotic Arm
  • Ultrasound 2 Device in Space Medicine
  • ESA (European Space Agency) Contributions to ISS
  • 3D Printing in Space
  • High-Precision ISS Location Data Study

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Sara Davis October 11, 2023 - 3:04 pm

So the spacewalk is 6 hours long? That’s commitment! Wonder how they prepare for something like that.

Emily Williams October 11, 2023 - 3:09 pm

Super interested in the Cold Atom Lab. Quantum behavior of atoms near absolute zero, sounds like sci-fi but its real!

John Smith October 11, 2023 - 4:13 pm

Wow, they’re doing some serious stuff up there! Can’t believe they’re actually testing how microorganisms react in space. That’s nuts.

Laura Green October 11, 2023 - 6:42 pm

Vein scans in space? That’s gotta be challenging with zero gravity and all. Kudos to the medical team on ground.

Robert Lee October 11, 2023 - 7:45 pm

The work these astronauts do is just amazing, theyre real-life heroes. Also, the bit about 3D printing is cool, very future-forward.

Karen White October 11, 2023 - 11:24 pm

I didn’t know so much research goes on in the ISS. From physics to human health, thats comprehensive.

Mike Johnson October 12, 2023 - 2:21 am

radiator leaks in space sounds terrifying. glad they got it under control. props to the ground teams too.

Tom Brown October 12, 2023 - 6:21 am

Its great how international the ISS is, with NASA, ESA, JAXA and Roscosmos all in one place. Truly a global effort!


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