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Crew safe as cooling system problem plagues Space Station

All on board are OK, but NASA says part of the ISS' cooling system has failed and the space agency is trying to figure out a solution.

The International Space Station, as seen in a NASA publicity image. The ISS is currently suffering a partial cooling system problem.

The crew aboard the International Space Station is safe, but NASA is working to solve a problem that has shut down part of the station's cooling system, the space agency said Wednesday.

One of two ammonia loops that keep equipment both outside and inside the ISS cool had unexpectedly shut down earlier Wednesday because of lower than expected temperatures outside, said Josh Byerly, NASA spokesperson at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

According to Byerly, when "Loop A" shut down, ground crews were able to get pumps back up and running, and put everything inside and outside the station on "Loop B." But the second loop was not able to handle the increased load, and as a result, crews had to shut down some of the station's systems.

Byerly said that the ISS has never had a problem like this before, but added that neither the crew nor the station itself are in any kind of danger. "But," he added, "this is something that they have to get fixed."

Unfortunately, NASA is unclear on how long it will take to work out a solution. "You can't put a timeline on it," he said. But he did add that the ISS can continue to operate, albeit it with reduced functions, until crews figure out the answer.

News of the problems aboard the ISS was first reported by NBC's Tom Costello. In a tweet, NBC wrote of an "urgent situation" aboard the space station.

This isn't the first recent problem with the station's cooling system. In May, the cooling system sprung a leak, the same loop that had also had a leaking problem in November 2012.