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 County — evacuated 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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