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    Unplanned Space Walk May Be Needed to Fix Ammonia Leak on Space Station

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    Unplanned space walk needed to fix an ammonia leak in the US segment of the International Space Station, according to Central Command.

    MOSCOW, January 14 (Sputnik) – An unplanned space walk may be necessary to fix an ammonia leak in the US segment of the International Space Station (ISS), Central Command said Wednesday.

    “According to the American program, the first space walk was planned for February 16, the second on the 20th, and the third on February 25. An unplanned spacewalk may occur earlier,” a Central Command representative said.

    Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, said earlier that ammonia from an air conditioning unit in the American segment of the International Space Station was discharged into the station’s atmosphere. The American segment on the ISS has been isolated, the crew is safe and currently in the Russian segment.

    Ammonia is a colorless gas with a pungent, suffocative odor. Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen. Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia leads to the burning of the nose, throat and respiratory tract that may cause respiratory distress or failure.

    The ISS was launched on November 20, 1998. Fifteen nations are currently involved in the project, including Russia, the United States, Canada, Japan and eleven members of the European Space Agency.

    The current ISS Expedition 42 crew is comprised of NASA's Barry Wilmore, who is the Expedition’s commander, Russian flight engineers Alexander Samokutyayev, Elena Serova, and Anton Shkaplerov, ESA's Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA's Terry Virts. The team is due to land in March, 2015.

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    ammonia, International Space Station (ISS), United States, Russia
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