Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 3:12 pm
Spacewalking astronauts have successfully replaced a failed coolant pump on the International Space Station.
NPR's Joe Palca reports that American spacewalkers Michael Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio had to bolt the massive pump in place (on the ground, it weighs 780 pounds), connect four ammonia lines and plug in five electrical cables. The ammonia is a refrigerant used in the station's two-part cooling system, which is necessary to dissipate heat from the onboard electrical equipment.
An artist's rendition of the GOCE satellite shows the craft in its orbit around Earth. After four years of studying oceans and gravity fields, GOCE re-entered the atmosphere over the Southern Atlantic Ocean Sunday night.
Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 2:41 pm
More than a ton of advanced electronics, including an ion engine and sensors that help detect variations in gravity, crashed into Earth's atmosphere Sunday night, when the European GOCE satellite ended its four-year mission. Most of the 2,425-pound craft disintegrated when it re-entered the atmosphere over the South Atlantic Ocean; about 25 percent did not.
In this image made from video provided by NASA, astronaut Christopher Cassidy, foreground, holds a power wrench as he stows away a coolant pump on the International Space Station on Saturday. Thomas Marshburn is at left.