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Thursday, May 29, 2008

NASA Rushes Parts To Shuttle For ISS Toilet Repairs

I guess jiggling the handle will not fix the problem, and when you are confined to the close quarters of the International Space Station(ISS) the last thing you want is a misbehaving toilet. The Russian made toilet has apparently been acting up for weeks and a pump within it had been bypassed by the crew aboard. NASA has sent an employee from Russia to Florida with a replacement 1½-foot-long pump and related hardware, packed in a diplomatic pouch and carried on board a commercial jetliner as carry on luggage. The parts will fly to the ISS on board the Shuttle Discovery, taking the place of some wrenches, a spare part for the station's oxygen generator, and a microbe-killing device used in the European space lab, as space aboard the shuttle is limited. "Clearly, having a working toilet is a priority for us, so some of these things that we didn't need for the next six months or so could wait," said payload manager Scott Higginbotham. Interestingly, not scrapped is a Disney action figure, Buzz Lightyear, who is going "to infinity and beyond" aboard Discovery as part of an educational program for math and science teachers and their students. CNN story here.