Frosty vs. Leaky: Spacewalkers shuffle spare coolant pumps at space station

There have been 209 spacewalks at the ISS. Pic NASA

Spacewalking astronauts carried out a high-flying, high-tech version of musical chairs Wednesday, rearranging pumps outside the International Space Station.

Two flight engineers of the USA space agency NASA completed the fifth spacewalk of this year out of the International Space Station on Wednesday.

Their main goal during the 6-and-a-half hour outing is to move and test one of the spare pumps - called "Frosty" because some time ago it lost its power, which it did not recover for a few months.

Since they operate using highly toxic ammonia, the spacewalkers must take utmost care not to get any on their suits.

The PFCS drives and controls the flow of ammonia through the exterior portions of the station's cooling system. The other, a failed unit dubbed Leaky, spewed out ammonia five years ago.

In February 1984 astronaut Bruce Mc Candless became the first astronaut to move about in space without being connected to a spacecraft. He used a jet-propelled backpack to move around
Image In 1984 Bruce Mc Candless became the first astronaut to move about in space without a tether. Pic NASA

NASA wants the best spare in the best spot.

The cameras will also play double duty in transmitting and receiving data from experiments and assemblies in Europe's Columbus laboratory and Japan's Kibo laboratory.

"Nice work", Mission Control said as the 6 1/2-hour spacewalk came to a close.

The spacewalkers laughed and shared jokes as they floated back inside. Orbital ATK plans to launch a supply ship Sunday from Wallops Island, Virginia.

The astronauts taking part in the NASA space walk are no strangers to the task, with this being the eighth of Feustel's walks as well as the fourth of Arnold's.

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