WASHINGTON, January 14 (Sputnik) — An ammonia leak warning in the US segment of the International Space Station (ISS) that forced US astronauts to the Russian side is likely a false alarm, NASA told Sputnik Wednesday afternoon, saying the astronauts are expected to return to the US side this evening or tomorrow.
NASA said the likely culprit was a computer error in one of the sensors that caused the alarm to go off.
At around 4 AM EST alarms went off in the US segment of the ISS indicating an ammonia leak. NASA detected a rise in pressure in one of the water loops which makes up one of two ammonia coolant loops as well as a rise of pressure in the cabin. The indicators signaled there was an ammonia leak and the space agency directed the three-person US crew to follow emergency procedures and go to the Russia side of the ISS, NASA explained.
The current ISS crew comprises six specialists from the United States, Russia and the European Union. It includes mission commander Barry Wilmore and flight engineer Terry Virts from NASA; flight engineers Elena Serova, Alexander Samokutyaev and Anton Shkaplerov from Roscosmos; and flight engineer Samantha Cristoforetti from the European Space Agency.