|International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA|
HOUSTON, Texas -- The Expedition 42 crew of the International Space Station are safe after a suspected ammonia leak forced the crew to evacuate from the U.S. segment to the Russian segment of the Space Station around 4 a.m. EST.
NASA's flight controllers at Mission Control in Houston saw an increase in pressure in the station’s water loop for thermal control - then later saw a cabin pressure increase - which NASA officials say could be indicative of an ammonia leak in the worst case scenario.
In the abundance of caution, the crew was directed to isolate themselves in the Russian segment while the teams are evaluating the situation. Non-essential equipment in the U.S. segment of the station was also powered down per standard procedures.
Flight controllers are analyzing the Space Station data, but said it is not yet known if the alarm was actually triggered by a leak or whether the situation was caused by a faulty sensor or by a problem in a computer relay box that sends data and commands to various systems on the station.