Howard County Astronaut Had to Evacuate U.S. Part of International Space Station

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Terry Virts
Astronaut Terry Virts

Possibly due to a “very small” ammonia leak, the six-person crew of the United States quarters of the International Space Station — including astronaut Terry Virts of Howard Countyevacuated to the Russian side this morning.

U.S. officials said that the crew is not currently in danger. Technically they don’t know whether there was an ammonia leak. A NASA spokesman explained that “[w]e saw an increase in water loop pressure, then later saw a cabin-pressure increase that could be indicative of an ammonia leak in the worst case scenario.”

Fun fact: ammonia is used as a coolant for many of the space station’s electronics. But for indoor devices like computers the U.S. side employs “cold plates” which use cold water to disperse the heat.


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