Cosmonauts on the ISS met with a deadly “bubble”

An accident on the International Space Station (ISS) jeopardized the spacewalk of two Russian cosmonauts. The reason was a bubble of ammonia that leaked out of the cooling radiator in the Russian Nauka module.

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub installed a synthetic radar communication system during a spacewalk that lasted 7 hours and 41 minutes. Image: NASA TV

Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub’s spacewalk took place on October 25. For almost eight hours, they carried out a number of tasks, including checking for leaks on the backup radiator located on the Russian module. During the inspection, they noticed that the coolant began to leak out of the backup radiator, which led to an immediate shutdown and leaving the leak zone due to concerns for the safety of cosmonauts.

NASA conducted a thorough check of the cosmonauts’ spacesuits and instruments to make sure that the coolant did not get on their equipment. It turned out that the coolant did not get on their suits. After that, the cosmonauts returned to the ISS through the Poisk airlock, where they continued to perform procedures to minimize possible risks.

NASA experts explain that after a spacewalk, astronauts usually clean their spacesuits and instruments to remove any traces of pollutants. This procedure is carried out to prevent possible contamination of the space station environment, and in this case, it happened after a coolant leak. Recall that ammonia is a toxic substance that can endanger the life of the crew of a space outpost.

Threat to cosmonauts

The radiator from which the liquid was leaking was delivered to the ISS in 2010 and installed on the Nauka module during a spacewalk in April 2023. The Nauka module was docked to the ISS in July 2021.

It is important to note that this is not the first case of leakage from Russian hardware attached to the ISS. In December 2022, a hole was found on the Soyuz spacecraft. Roscosmos stated that this was the result of a micrometeorite hitting the spacecraft. Then, in February of the same year, the entire coolant leaked out on the Russian Progress MS-21 cargo spacecraft. The space agency of the aggressor country also explained this as an external influence. But after the third similar case, experts generally questioned the integrity of all Russian hardware.

At the moment, NASA claims that the situation inside the ISS is under control. However, the spacewalks were postponed. Although NASA astronauts are still preparing for their next spacewalk.

Earlier we reported on how Russia was going to attack Ukraine with the Soyuz rocket.

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