Power cut on international space station can’t be repaired until 2016

Space News

Electricity rerouted after short circuit but spare parts will not arrive in next shipment following delays to supply missions caused by failed launches.


The Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft, which is already packed with cargo for the International Space Station – parts to fix power cut not included.

The International Space Station has had a power cut and spacewalking repairs may be needed once a replacement part can be delivered by rocket.

Nasa said on Monday that the six astronauts were left with one less power channel on Friday. A short circuit in equipment on the station’s framework was to blame. The short apparently tripped a current-switching device, resulting in the loss of one of eight channels used to power the orbiting lab. The affected systems were switched to alternate lines.

Nasa spokesman Dan Huot said the crew had been operating normally and was in no danger. A similar failure in 2014 required spacewalking repairs.

No good spare parts for the job are on board. Nasa planned to launch a replacement on a SpaceX delivery scheduled sometime early in 2016, Huot said. SpaceX has been grounded since a failed launch in June.

Nasa’s other commercial supplier, Orbital ATK, is on track to make a station shipment in just over two weeks following a one-year hiatus caused by its own launch explosion. But that cargo carrier is already packed for flight.

Orbital remains grounded at Wallops Island, Virginia, scene of the October 2014 accident, but is relying on another rocket maker to deliver the goods from Cape Canaveral on 3 December on board an Atlas V.

The space station astronauts observed a moment of silence on Monday in honour of those killed Friday in the Paris terrorist attacks. Commander Scott Kelly, Nasa’s year-long spaceman, said he was shocked and saddened by the attacks.

“Standing with #France from @space_station. Our thoughts are w you,” Kelly said on Twitter.

Source: www.theguardian.com