Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NASA Postpones Cygnus Launch Ahead of Trio of Spacewalks to Repair Faulty Pump Module

NASA has postponed the launch of the Orbital Sciences' Cygnus cargo resupply vehicle to the International Space Station, after the space agency announced that a trio of EVAs will take place outside the station during the Christmas holidays in order to repair a faulty ammonia pump which regulates space station cooling.

Rick Mastracchio tweeted a picture of his EMU

Cygnus, which is making its second visit to the station, was scheduled to launch from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on December 19. Atop an Antares rocket, it will now attempt launch on January 9, with launch occurring no later than January 13 2014.

This postponement will allow Expedition 38 flight engineers Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastrachio to conduct a trio of EVAs outside the orbiting complex in an effort to repair the faulty pump module. These three spacewalks will take place on December 21, 23 and 25. Each EVA will commence at 12:10 p.m. Irish Time.

 They will replace it with an existing spare that is stored on an external stowage platform. The pump is associated with one of the station's two external cooling loops, which circulate ammonia outside the station to keep both internal and external equipment cool.

This is the same pump which was repaired by Expedition 24 flight engineers Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson, after completing three spacewalks in 2010.

More to follow..

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