• News
  • ISS ammonia leak may require spacewalk for repair

ISS ammonia leak may require spacewalk for repair

An ammonia leak aboard the International Space Station (ISS) threatens to disrupt an electrical channel that may require a spacewalk to repair.

The ammonia leak was spotted on 9 May in the form of frozen ammonia flakes drifting away from the P6 Truss. Ammonia is used as a heat exchanger, dissipating heat generated by the solar arrays and machines running on the ISS.

The leak is caused by a rupture thought to measure between 1-3cm (0.39-1.18in), and originates from the P6 Truss.

One of the eight electrical channels, Channel 2B, has been shut down, and power rerouted through other channels, causing the loss of 12.5% of the station's electricity-generating capacity.

A small rupture in the same area has been slowly leaking ammonia. But the loss is in such small quantities that it is considered safe, requiring only an occasional fill-up. That leak expanded in 2012, requiring a spacewalk to install a spare radiator. The new, larger leak appears to originate from the same area.

Related Content