Cooling pump shuts down on International Space Station

    9:27 AM, Dec 12, 2013   |    comments
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    NEW YORK (CBS) -- NASA is looking into what they say is a potentially serious problem onboard the International Space Station.

    Orbiting about 200 miles above Earth, the International Space Station stopped working at full capacity Wednesday.

    One of the two cooling pumps shut down when sensors detected lower than normal temperatures.

    NASA turned off some non-critical equipment but says the six crew members onboard the space station, including two Americans, were never in danger.

    CBS News space consultant Bill Harwood said, "It's more a sense of urgency because they want to get this fixed and resume normal operations as soon as possible more than some kind of threat to the crew."

    Harwood says having one band cooling pump could be a threat to the entire station. He said, "They can't suffer another coolant loop failure or they could be in real hot water in terms of the stations overall health."

    Engineers are trying to figure out if it's a hardware or software problem. Officials haven't decided if an emergency spacewalk is the best way to fix the problem.

    The current mission of the space station, officially called Expedition 38, is scheduled to fly until March 2014.


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