MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. Astronauts working aboard the International Space Station will stay overnight in the Russian segment of the station and will be able to return to the US segment only by noon on Thursday, the director of NASA’s manned space flights programs in Russia, Sean Fuller told TASS on Wednesday.
Earlier reports indicated a possibility of foreign astronauts’ return to the US segment of the station as early as Wednesday night.
On Thursday, the crew will get up at 06:00 GMT and if the results of onboard systems checking are satisfactory, the astronauts will then have an opportunity to move back to the US segment of the station, Fuller said.
Their return will be possible if experts confirm that Wednesday’s emergency situation, which compelled them to take shelter on the Russian side of the station, had been caused by a faulty operation of a gauge.
Fuller said it was not ruled out that NASA specialists would clear out the cause of the incident within the coming several hours but he said along with it analysis of the causes might take far more time since the ISS was an extremely sophisticated system.
In any event, the clearing out of the causes of the incident would take hours, not days, he said, adding that a glitch in the functioning of gauges was the most probable cause of alarm aboard the ISS.
Fuller gave the assurances that the incident had not wielded any impact on the work of the ISS international crew or the station as such.
It did affect in some measure the works the crew had not managed to round up by the time the alarm system started sending signals of problems in the cooler loops and a possible leak of ammonia but the Russian cosmonauts and the astronauts would be able to do them somewhat later.
As for the station as an orbital object, there was no risk for it at all, Fuller said.
NASA said it did not have the data confirming a leak of ammonia at the US section of the station. The experts were considering three possible options at the time of reporting — a spike of pressure, a failure of the gauges and a computer glitch. Rob Nevis, NASA’s official spokesman told TASS the astronauts moved into the Russian segment of the station after the alarm system went off.
Reports on the unscheduled situation were released by the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos. Its officials said the crew was safe and sound, as the concentration of hazardous admixes in the atmosphere was within acceptable parameters.