A cooling system failed Wednesday on the orbiting International Space Station, but the six astronauts aboard are not currently in any danger, NASA said.
As a result of the cooling problem, the station's crew "has to prioritize life support systems, electrical systems and science experiments — including the freezers that preserve samples," NBC News reported.
According to NASA, one of two cooling loops on the space station stopped functioning earlier Wednesday. Officials are investigating the cause and hope a software update could fix the issue, otherwise a spacewalk may be required.
"The flight control teams worked to get the cooling loop back up and running, and they suspect a flow control valve actually inside the pump itself might not be functioning correctly," spokesman Joshua Byerly said in a statement. "At no time was the crew or the station itself in any danger but the ground teams did work to move certain electrical systems over to the second loop."
There are currently three Russian, one Japanese, and two American astronauts on board the space station.
NASA spokesman Joshua Byerly released the following statement:
Earlier today, the pump module on one of the space station's two external cooling loops automatically shut down when it reached pre-set temperature limits. These loops circulate ammonia outside the station to keep both internal and external equipment cool. The flight control teams worked to get the cooling loop back up and running, and they suspect a flow control valve actually inside the pump itself might not be functioning correctly.
At no time was the crew or the station itself in any danger, but the ground teams did work to move certain electrical systems over to the second loop. Some non-critical systems have been powered down inside the Harmony node, the Kibo laboratory and the Columbus laboratory while the teams work to figure out what caused the valve to not function correctly and how to fix it. The crew is safe and preparing to begin a normal sleep shift while experts on the ground collect more data and consider what troubleshooting activities may be necessary.
NASA's website shows a failure of Loop A at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday.
Jon Passantino is a deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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