A group of spacewalking astronauts were performing a plumbing job outside the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday when they encountered minor glove damage and leaking ammonia. However, there’s nothing to worry about as NASA has already confirmed that neither of the two issues posed any immediate threat.
When making connections of a cooling line, Kjell Lindgren, a NASA astronaut, encountered flashing flakes of toxic ammonia and informed the Mission Control about the incident. However, he also assured that the event was the result of a very small leak. Mission Control, on the other hand, stressed that the situation is not at all dangerous for the astronauts.
Lindgren, and Scott Kelly, the famous one-year spaceman of NASA, were nearly two hours into their planned six and half hour spacewalk when they experienced the ammonia flakes spewing out. As they were outside when the incident took place, there was no risk of experiencing a suit contamination. However, before going back inside, they will need to confirm that all traces of ammonia have been eradicated by the sun.
Just minutes after experiencing the leakage issue, Kelly reported another problem. This time, the problem was with the forefinger in his right glove; Kelly saw that a stitch was poking out from that part of the gear. According to him, the damaged area made the gear look like a loop. Houston-based flight controllers, although had a hard time to confirm whether the problem was actually superficial and minor, they eventually succeeded in determining that there was nothing to worry about.
Kelly and Lindgren have come out for a spacewalk for the second time in the past one and half weeks. Before going out for the spacewalk, Kelly, who has constantly been in touch with social media users via Twitter, tweeted that he is “going off the grid for spacewalk”, but will soon be back on Twitter.
Friday’s trip was planned primarily for working on the cooling system of the space station. Kelly and Lindgren wanted to undo some jury-rigged repair works done on a leaky cooling system three years back. A different method was subsequently adopted for fixing the ammonia leak; the failed pump was replaced with a new one. As a result, NASA wanted to bring back the ISS’ radiator system to its actual setup.