December 24, 2013 (Updated Story)
Following two spacewalks to replace a degraded pump module on the truss, or backbone, of the International Space Station, flight controllers in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston successfully restarted the new pump Tuesday night.
The pump module controls the flow of ammonia through cooling loops and radiators outside the space station, and, combined with water-based cooling loops inside the station, removes excess heat into the vacuum of space.
The new pump now is considered fully functional, but it will take some time to fully reintegrate the pump and Loop A of the two-loop external cooling system. Teams at mission control are following a schedule that should allow the restored cooling loop to be fully activated and integrated into the station’s cooling system on Christmas Day, Dec. 25.
image credit: NASA TV