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Astronauts Evacuated from ISS due to Suspected Toxic Gas Leak


Image credit: NASA, via Wikimedia Commons.

Not long ago, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) had to be evacuated from the US section of the orbiting satellite, because they feared that kind of toxic substances was suspected to leak from the cooling system.

While at first the incident was reported to be caused by a discharge of ammonia into the station’s atmosphere, it was then confirmed by NASA officials that it might be a false alarm due to a sensor problem.

According to NASA tweeting, the controllers informed Exp42 crew of the possibility of a false indication, which should be a faulty sensor or computer relay.

In the report by BBC News, the Expedition 42 crew had just been awake for several hours before they noticed that the coolant pressure alarms sounded, while they were busy with unloading the cargo aboard SpaceX’s Dragon capsule which just arrived at the ISS. Such cargo, including belated Christmas presents, groceries and science experiments, was actually in urgent need, because the last-year explosion of the Antares rocket had destroyed the whole payload. As Roscosmos, the Russian space agency stated, the capsule would remain coupled to the ISS and no emergency exit would be necessary.

The agency also confirmed that the situation was under control and no crew member had been in any danger. Therefore the six crew members who had been evacuated before would stay in the Russian sector until the situation became normal and the American sector had been sealed off.

As Bob Jacobs, NASA spokesperson explained, alarm bells went ringing when the water loop pressure was seen to be increased, thus an increase in cabin pressure followed. Even if it did not necessarily show an ammonia leak, they decided to get ready for a worst occurrence, so they had to isolate crew members from the affected area.

When Jim Kelly of NASA was talking with the crew, he said that they were still making efforts to find out what happened exactly, because they were not quite sure that it had been caused by an ammonia leak. If it was really that case, it should need an unscheduled spacewalk for repairing any damage in this regard.

Based on to RT, except for the isolated area, the atmosphere is still quite stable on the ISS and the level of air pollutants stay in acceptable levels as well.

Source: BBC NewsRTITAR-TASS and The Telegraph