May 12, 2005

Space Station Oxygen Generator Broken

MOSCOW (AFP) -- The oxygen generator on the orbiting International Space Station has broken down but there is no danger to its two-man crew, the Russian space agency Roskosmos said.

"All the systems of the ISS are operating well, with the exception of the Elektron" oxygen generator, Roskosmos said in a statement, adding that the faulty component would be replaced next month.

The orbiting station was supplied with three times its normal reserves of oxygen by the supply vessel Progress in March, a space control spokesman told Russia's Ria Novosti agency, explaining why there was no danger.

"The crew members are well," Roskosmos said, referring to Russia's Sergei Krikalev and John Phillips of the United States who arrived there in April.

The ISS is an American-led project to have a manned outpost in low-earth orbit, assembled from modules hauled up by the US space shuttle.

The loss of the Columbia shuttle in 2003 significantly delayed the timetable for completing the ISS and its soaring financial cost has raised questions as to whether it will ever be finished.


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