ISS astronauts evacuated to Russian capsule after ammonia leak (update)

14 Jan 2015

Image of the ISS via Wikimedia Commons

Six astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have been safely evacuated to the Russian section of the orbiting space lab after a leak of toxic ammonia gas in the US section of the craft.

According to initial reports, the ammonia gas is highly pressurised and would be deadly to any astronauts who would be in its vicinity.

The incident is believed to have occurred at 11.44am UTC, with the remaining sections of the ISS supposedly maintaining a stable atmosphere.

What the crew will do next will be decided by US mission control, but according to the head of the Russian Mission Control Center, Maksim Matyushin, the crew will not need to be evacuated entirely from the ISS by a Soyuz spacecraft.

Former astronaut and ex-ISS commander Chris Hadfield tweets about the ammonia leak aboard the spacecraft

There are currently six astronauts aboard the ISS since Expedition 42’s arrival including the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Samantha Cristoforetti, who has been documenting Earth from above.

This story will be updated as more news becomes available.

Update: NASA have tweeted that what was thought to have been an ammonia leak has turned out to be a flase alarm, most likely a faulty sensor or computer relay.


Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic