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Spacewalkers leave station to track coolant leak

Published on Nov 1, 2012 10:03 PM

CAPE CANAVERAL (REUTERS) - A pair of spacewalking astronauts floated outside the International Space Station on Thursday to attempt to bypass a leak in one of the outpost's cooling systems.

Engineers suspect a micrometeoroid or a tiny piece of space debris may have punched a hole no bigger than the width of a hair into one of the station's radiators.

The devices dissipate heat from batteries and other equipment aboard the solar-powered station, a US$100 billion (S$122 billion) laboratory for biological, fluid physics and other science experiments now flying about 410km above Earth.

Station commander Sunita Williams and flight engineer Akihiko Hoshide left the station's Quest airlock around 8.30am EDT (8.30pm, Singapore time) for what was expected to be a 6.5-hour spacewalk to reconfigure ammonia coolant lines and hook up a spare radiator.

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