The International Space Station In Need of Repairs
The International Space Station is in need of repairs scheduled the week of Christmas, according to an announcement made by NASA on Tuesday the 17th. Astronauts Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio of the Expedition 38 crew will be doing three spacewalks starting on the 21st of this month to repair a coolant pump. Due to the malfunction of the pump, operations had to be delayed from last week.
NASA had planned to launch the first commercial supply mission to the space station by Orbital Sciences Corporation’s unmanned Cygnus spacecraft. Orbital Sciences’ first supply mission is rescheduled for January 2014 to the research outpost.
Two external cooling loops crashed due to a defective valve on the cooling system. The two astronauts will do the repairs in three spacewalks.
The three spacewalks will be broken down into three days scheduled for December 21st, 23rd and on Christmas Day. The repairs are estimated to take a little over six hours to complete for each spacewalk.
The private mission, done by Orbital Sciences’ and SpaceX comes after NASA retired its space shuttle program in December of 2011 after 30 years of operation. The private spacecraft did demonstration launches back in September, and is now ready to start its first mission to the space station.