A short circuit in a vital cooling system pump on the International Space Station has set the stage for two emergency spacewalks to replace the faulty component. 

Learn more about the space station's cooling system and the challenging pump repair in the SPACE.com graphic below. NOTE: This graphic does not portray all parts of the space station but rather focuses on those aspects related to the cooling system malfunction:  

Space station cooling system repair explained

Each pump module weighs 780 pounds (353 kg) and is 5 1/2 feet long (69 inches) by 4 feet wide (50 inches). They are also about 3 feet tall (36 inches), making them very bulky and difficult to move.

Two pumps are used at any given time to run the space station's two U.S. cooling system loops: Loop A and Loop B. The failed pump is part of the Loop A system. The space station also has an independent Russian cooling system that can support the station on its own for a brief time, if required, station managers have said.

There are four spare pumps on the space station.


More resources:

NASA Scrambling to Plan Vital Space Station Repairs

Big Space Station Can Have Big Malfunctions

Cooling System Malfunction Highlights Space Station's Complexity

Graphic: How Big Is the International Space Station?

NASA Plans Emergency Spacewalks to Fix Space Station

Space Station Suffers Cooling System Malfunction

Gallery - Space Station's Windows on the World