L'autunno caldo della ISS

Un guasto a un circuito di raffreddamento impone un parziale spegnimento dei sistemi. Nessun pericolo per gli astronauti, ma ora ci sono riparazioni da fare

Roma – Il “loop A”, ovvero uno degli impianti di raffreddamento della Stazione Spaziale Internazionale, è entrato in avaria : il raggiungimento della temperatura limite per operare in sicurezza ha attivato il blocco automatico del sistema, allertando gli operatori a Houston e i sei occupanti attualmente a bordo della ISS. Nessun pericolo immediato per la sopravvivenza degli astronauti , ma lo stop ha imposto un fermo di alcuni moduli (tra cui l’europeo Columbus) per garantire il supporto vitale e la preservazione degli esperimenti operanti in condizioni climatiche controllate. Al momento come detto ci sono sei ospiti sulla ISS: due astronauti USA, uno giapponese e tre cosmonauti russi.

Il blocco dell’impianto di raffreddamento, un sistema indispensabile alla permanenza in orbita viste le temperature estreme che raggiunge lo scafo della ISS quando è riscaldato dal Sole, pare sia scattato a causa di una valvola malfunzionante : non è chiaro al momento se si tratti di un guasto hardware o di un semplice problema software, e tutte le ipotesi saranno vagliate nelle prossime ore per tentare di escogitare una riparazione. Potrebbe bastare una semplice patch software per far ripartire il loop A e riportare in perfetta efficienza la Stazione Spaziale, oppure potrebbe essere necessaria ripetere una passeggiata spaziale come quella di maggio . In ogni caso al momento il funzionamento dei sistemi è garantito dal loop B, l’altro impianto di raffreddamento a bordo.

In linea teorica sono necessarie 2 settimane di lavoro per provvedere a una riparazione al sistema di raffreddamento, uno dei guasti potenzialmente più catastrofici e di maggiore complessità di risoluzione per i tecnici. In realtà spesso viene impiegato molto meno tempo per venire a capo del problema: l’unica variabile sarà la necessità di organizzarsi per un’uscita extra-veicolare , che inevitabilmente comporterà ritardi sulla tabella di marcia della normale amministrazione a bordo (oltre quelli già intervenuti). Non è la prima volta che si verifica un guasto del genere, e dunque sia a terra che in orbita sono preparati ad affrontare il problema. ( L.A. )

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