'Harmful' leak on U.S. section of space station forces evacuation
The International Space Station. NASA photo
NBC News) - The crew of the International Space Station were forced to evacuate the U.S. section Wednesday after a possible ammonia leak, the American and Russian space agencies said.
All crew were safe and had moved to the Russian side of the facility after the leak of "harmful substances" from the cooling system at 3:44 a.m. ET, the Russian Federal Space Agency said on its website. The U.S. section of the I.S.S. had been sealed off, it said.
NASA said the space agency said the crew were safe and that it was in the process of coming up with a plan to deal with the leak.
"The safety of the team was preserved thanks to swift actions of the cosmonauts and astronauts themselves and the team on the ground in Moscow and Houston," said the chief of Russian mission control Maksim Matyushin.
A NASA official told NBC News that it "could be indicative of an ammonia leak in the worst case" and that the crew had been isolated in the Russian segment of the space station while the situation was assessed.
The six crew currently on the I.S.S. include two Americans astronauts, Commander Barry Wilmore and flight engineer Terry Virts. Also aboard are Russian cosmonauts Elena Serova, Alexander Samoukutyaev and Anton Shkaplerov, and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from the European Space Agency, all flight engineers.
The I.S.S. experienced an ammonia leak in May, 2013.
Saturday, January 20 2018 6:08 PM EST2018-01-20 23:08:09 GMT
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