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ISS NASA

Space Station Crew Prepare For Emergency Spacewalk 95

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-separate-the-saucer-section dept.
astroengine writes "After the discovery of an ammonia coolant leak supplying one of the solar arrays on Thursday (video), International Space Station managers have decided to plan for an unscheduled spacewalk on Saturday to repair the problem. The final decision about whether to go ahead with the extravehicular activity will be made late on Friday. 'Good Morning, Earth! Big change in plans, spacewalk tomorrow, Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn are getting suits and airlock ready. Cool!', tweeted the Space Station's Expedition 35 Commander, Chris Hadfield, on hearing the news an emergency EVA may be required of his crew. 'The whole team is ticking like clockwork, readying for tomorrow. I am so proud to be Commander of this crew. Such great, capable, fun people.'"
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Space Station Crew Prepare For Emergency Spacewalk

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  • Howard (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, 2013 @01:06PM (#43686565)

    Good think Wolowitz isn't up there, or he'd be freaking out.

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      Too bad it's not a realistic depiction of how gravity works.

      • What really bothers me is the "IMax" symbol at the end of the preview which suggests this anti-knowledge will be shown at science museums. Incredible cultural poison.

        • by tgd (2822)

          What really bothers me is the "IMax" symbol at the end of the preview which suggests this anti-knowledge will be shown at science museums. Incredible cultural poison.

          Yes, because Star Trek, Iron Man, Transformers, The Matrix and a hundred other feature films that are available in Imax are intended to be science documentaries ...

          • by Anonymous Coward

            You mean Transformers aren't real? I'm so... I mean... my uh... son... will be so bummed.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        From what I've seen of the trailer, it seems believeable enough. What gripes do you have, as I wasn't looking very closely?

        • by david.given (6740)
          In order for the station to reenter, you'd have to change its orbital velocity by a substantial amount. The interwebs suggests that it's about 150m/s (that's about 300 mph for the metrically challenged).

          To change the ISS's velocity that much in a single impact would destroy the entire station. I don't even think the ISS is capable of being deorbited without additional hardware; the Progress supply drones it currently uses to adjust its orbit carry very little thruster fuel. (Just enough to deorbit the Progr
          • by gstoddart (321705)

            I don't even think the ISS is capable of being deorbited without additional hardware

            Oh, it can be de-orbited ... the people on it just might not like the outcome.

            I doubt it's got enough shielding and the like to do it in any controlled way. I doubt it was even designed to be landed.

          • by gl4ss (559668)

            In order for the station to reenter, you'd have to change its orbital velocity by a substantial amount. The interwebs suggests that it's about 150m/s (that's about 300 mph for the metrically challenged).

            To change the ISS's velocity that much in a single impact would destroy the entire station. I don't even think the ISS is capable of being deorbited without additional hardware; the Progress supply drones it currently uses to adjust its orbit carry very little thruster fuel. (Just enough to deorbit the Progress itself, plus some spare.)

            Personally, the main bit which caused me to roll my eyes is right at the beginning, where the two astronauts admire the sunset, tumbling uncontrollably, while facing in entirely the wrong direction...

            was there re-entering on the trailer? isn't the movie about them getting stranded in space. I thought the things burning in atmosphere lower were pieces of some asteroid or something. though I wasn't paying too much attention.

          • by tibit (1762298)

            To change the ISS's velocity that much in a single impact would destroy the entire station.

            That's of course right. Whatever hits the station would need to do so at a minimum of 150m/s velocity difference, and then only if it were much more massive than the station. Unless it had a big honking spring attached to it, that is :) 150m/s is half the muzzle velocity of many small firearms.

            • 150m/s is half the muzzle velocity of many small firearms.

              I really hope that by "small firearms" you mean "pistols"...

              And if you mean "pistols", why didn't you just say so?

          • by tibit (1762298)

            Alas, I didn't notice -- did the entire station actually deorbit, or was it only some collision debris that got deorbited?

          • Personally, the main bit which caused me to roll my eyes is right at the beginning, where the two astronauts admire the sunset, tumbling uncontrollably, while facing in entirely the wrong direction...

            Don't be surprised if you find the scene and that bit of dialogue to be half-a-movie apart in the actual film.

          • In order for the station to reenter, you'd have to change its orbital velocity by a substantial amount. The interwebs suggests that it's about 150m/s (that's about 300 mph for the metrically challenged). To change the ISS's velocity that much in a single impact would destroy the entire station. I don't even think the ISS is capable of being deorbited without additional hardware; the Progress supply drones it currently uses to adjust its orbit carry very little thruster fuel. (Just enough to deorbit the Progress itself, plus some spare.) Personally, the main bit which caused me to roll my eyes is right at the beginning, where the two astronauts admire the sunset, tumbling uncontrollably, while facing in entirely the wrong direction...

            i see bits and pieces of a shuttle re-entering, and a Soyuz capsule, but I don't see the ISS doing any re-entry... at least not the entire station. Mind you, I do see the station being cut in two by an impact.

            If you look at the reflection in the suit's visor when he talks about the sunrise, you can see he is facing the right way for it. You can't really tell from a trailer, though. Adjacent scenes in a trailer may be far apart in the actual movie.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          Midway through. Part of the station blows, and it appears to shift into a lower orbit (by a few hundred meters at most) and then zooms right on by like someone stepped on the gas pedal.

          Issues:
          1. What the hell caused it to suddenly drop orbit!? Someone fire the retros and we just didn't see it?
          2. The difference in orbital velocity at an altitude difference of 100 meters is nowhere NEAR what is depicted.

          • by tibit (1762298)

            I mostly agree, although you can certainly have whatever velocity difference you want if you are not in a circular orbit anymore. A single hit to ISS big enough to deorbit it would certainly not leave it in a circular orbit by definition. There's no solution, I think, for a single momentum transfer that would lower the instantaneous orbital altitude by 100 metres while still keeping the track somewhat parallel to the previous one -- if that's what the visuals implied.

  • Keep that toolbox strapped to the space station.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Friday May 10, 2013 @01:20PM (#43686761)

    You can't have regular solar panels; you need ammonia-cooled solar panels. You can't simply walk out and fix it, there's no air. You can't use a wrench, because conservation of momentum means you rotate around the bolt. And after all that and you fix it, a piece of junk from a Chinese satellite killer takes you and your new solar panel out.

    This is why we're still whizzing around in LEO. Imagine doing this crap 100 million miles away when you can't "just" get more ammonia if you really needed it.

    • by jklovanc (1603149) on Friday May 10, 2013 @01:36PM (#43686945)

      You can't use a wrench, because conservation of momentum means you rotate around the bolt.

      Unless you have something to hold you, like the Canadarm [wikipedia.org], or hold onto something to stop your rotation. Using a wrench is space is more complex but not impossible.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Gothmolly (148874)

        You just made my point.

        • by osu-neko (2604)

          You just made my point.

          So by "you can't use a wrench", you meant, "you can use a wrench if you have something to hold onto." Gotcha...

    • But just because Space is hard...does not make the challenges insurmountable. Humanity's future lies in space.
    • "Everything is hard in space"

      Two things about that.

      First, I would like to point out that while it may be hard, I would not call this, as OP does, an "emergency". The leak was already known, and there are backup systems in place. This is a precautionary measure, not an "emergency", unless by that you mean they will "emerge" from the airlock.

      Second, the fact that "everything is hard in space" is precisely why we should establish a base on the moon. A gravity well makes a HUGE difference in how difficult it is to perform work. And t

      • Exactly. NASA's definition of an emergency spacewalk is one that wasn't on the schedule a month in advance and that nobody has practiced for in the giant swimming pool. It's something that needs to be done quickly before they lose too much coolant, but it isn't an emergency in the sense of "Roll Engine Company 3 and 4 and bring the long ladder trucks"

  • I wish the mechanic would get as excited when he has to put some freon into my A/C...

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Make the mechanic (and all his coworkers) lives depend upon fixing your A/C and see what happens :D

  • This isn't some sort of paid stunt to promote Sandra Bullock / George Clooney's latest movie is it?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    no one can hear ammonia scream.

  • Raw Egg (Score:5, Funny)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Friday May 10, 2013 @01:41PM (#43686999)
    Just pop the radiator cap and drop in a raw egg; that'll stop the leak. For awhile. But hurry up and dump this lemon on an unsuspecting buyer, quick.
  • Videos from the ISS (Score:4, Informative)

    by lehphyro (1465921) on Friday May 10, 2013 @01:54PM (#43687141)
    A little bit off-topic, but worth mentioning, Chris Hadfield has been recording interesting short videos from the ISS about how's life over there: http://www.youtube.com/user/canadianspaceagency [youtube.com]
  • by Triv (181010) on Friday May 10, 2013 @02:05PM (#43687265) Journal

    Didn't they solve this problem on TNG? All you need to do to cope with a coolant leak is have everybody roll energetically under the descending emergency door that's sealing the affected area off.

    http://epicgeordi.ytmnd.com/ [ytmnd.com]

    (in case it isn't obvious, that link is loud, obnoxious and on a loop.)

  • by sizzzzlerz (714878) on Friday May 10, 2013 @02:11PM (#43687333)

    Just a moment...just a moment...I've just picked up a fault in the AE-35 ammonia distribution unit. It's going to go a hundred percent failure within 72 hours.

  • P.R. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Friday May 10, 2013 @02:12PM (#43687339) Homepage Journal

    I find it amusing that the best P.R. man NASA has had in recent years (Chris Hadfield) is not American.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      I find it amusing that you care about such a thing.

      What -I- find amusing is that we call it NASA, not USA. Though that would be hilarious too, because of the redundancy.

      After all, AFAIK NASA does not envelope CSA or whatever Mexico calls their version.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        ...why wouldn't the US call its space agency the National Aeronautics and Space Administration...?

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          er, I thought it was North American. For some reason.

          On any other day I would not have been a moron, here. Well played, AC, well played...

    • Makes sense to me. The best engineer NASA ever had was German.

    • by osu-neko (2604)

      You'd be amazed how many Americans are Canadian. ;)

      (Most Americans are amazed to find out how many famous "Americans" they know are actually Canadians...)

      In any case, it's NASA. They hire from around the world. It would be surprising to find any working group in the agency that was 100% American. It would be silly to assume someone's nationality based on the fact that they work for, with, or in NASA.

      • However, there are many positions at NASA not open to non-citizens of the US.
        Hell, even some NASA facility tours are "citizen only", which is really ridiculous.
  • I read that as "Space Station Cow Prepares for Emergency Spacewalk" and was momentarily excited for pictures.

  • Why wait till tomorrow? why even ask permission to fix it? Seems to me there are decisions that should be made by the crew i mean they are experts.
    • One of the things that the video seemed to imply is that they're simulating the expected procedure in their underwater tanks on the ground first, to make sure everything is reachable, and to know what tools they need to do the job.

      The crew are not necessarily experts on every nut and bolt of the ISS. While they've certainly studied it, and have done the underwater sims themselves, the hands-on experience with each individual unit is quite rare compared to, say, a mechanic who works on cars every day for de

  • It's not an emergency if you get a night's sleep first.

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