Astronauts prepare to venture outside ISS to replace cooling pump



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - NASA officials announced Wednesday afternoon that they will have to conduct several challenging space walks to fix a broken pump that forced the shutdown of half of the International Space Station.

Officials said they anticipate three space walks. One of their biggest concerns is with the suits the astronauts will wear when they venture outside the ISS. One of those suits had a water leak during a previous space walk.

NASA released a video simulation demonstrating the space walks that will take place in order to keep ISS crew members safe from a potential ammonia leak.

The repairs are needed to repair one of two pumps that have malfunctioned.

Those pumps regulate toxic ammonia stored outside, and they keep it from leaking inside the ISS.

NASA has uploaded a training video to the ISS for the crew to review before the space walks.

During the first space walk, scheduled for Saturday, the two crew members, one hooked to a robotic arm, the other tethered to the ISS, will remove the faulty pump.

In another trip outside the station, the crew will replace the pump.

Crew members will have pads inside their helmets to absorb any water, should there be a leak.

"A helmet absorption pad can hold 600 to 800 milliliters of water," said Allison Bellinger of NASA.

The helmets also have a snorkel device the astronauts can use, should the helmets fill with water.

One of the astronauts has been on six space walks, for the other, this will be the first space walk.