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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Astronauts To Fix Space Station Toilet

Plumbing Added To Discovery Mission

How do you call a plumber in space?Space shuttle Discovery will be loaded with spare parts to fix the main toilet in the Russian segment of the International Space Station; the vacuum-powered urine-collection device failed after repeated attempts to fix it last week.The three crew members on the station, a U.S. astronaut and two cosmonauts, are using the toilet in the Soyuz module. The situation could become problematic when Discovery arrives next week, and 10 people are required to share the toilet on the tiny Soyuz, which is a Russian capsule also designated to be used at an emergency escape lifeboat. The shuttle's toilet, however, could provide some relief until the ISS toilet is repaired, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.
Conditions are not unsanitary, said a NASA spokesman.Though Discovery will carry up replacement parts on Saturday, NASA is not yet sure which parts will be needed for replacement.With the successful arrival on Mars of the Phoenix spacecraft, NASA is turning its attention to Saturday's launch of Discovery on a mission to deliver a massive Japanese laboratory to the International Space Station.Technicians returned to work on Tuesday at launch pad 39A after most work crews had the Memorial Day weekend off. Discovery's astronaut crew arrives at Kennedy Space Center Wednesday about 11:30 a.m. The coundown begins at 3 p.m. Wednesday.Discovery will blast off at 5:02 p.m. on a trip to deliver the 37-foot Kibo laboratory to the International Space Station. Three spacewalks will be performed during the 14-day mission.Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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