One of two cooling systems serving the International Space Station’s U.S., European and Japanese laboratories broke down, setting off a wave of equipment shutdowns to cut the heat generated on board, NASA said on Sunday.
The three Russian cosmonauts and three NASA astronauts aboard the station are not in any danger, NASA’s flight controllers said in a statement. The crew members, who were asleep at the time, were roused by alarms about 8 p.m. EDT Saturday and immediately set to work powering down equipment to prevent the sole remaining cooling loop from overloading.
The shutdown, however, means that many systems aboard the station are now without working backups.
“It’s pretty clear that we’re going to want to have a course of action to take as quickly as possible. This is not something we want to linger over,” said NASA spokesman Rob Navias at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
After an attempt to revive the cooling loop failed, NASA on Sunday scrambled teams to begin choreographing a pair of spacewalks later this week to make repairs.