CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA officials are stressing that
the crew on the International Space Station is in no danger, and
that the orbiting complex is in a stable situation after the
cooling system suddenly shut down over the weekend.
But astronauts now face the likelihood of urgent spacewalking
After huddling today, NASA managers have given preliminary
approval for a pair of spacewalks, the first of which would take
place later this week. Two Americans on board were already
scheduled to conduct a spacewalk Thursday for routine maintenance,
though the repairs would supersede the original chores.
The trouble arose last night, when one of the two ammonia-fed
cooling loops shut down, forcing the astronauts to power down
equipment. The ammonia lines ensure that the station's electronic
gear doesn't overheat. With one of those out of commission, there's
no safeguard in case of a second failure.