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BREAKING 1:45pm 6-4-08 Troubles Flushed Out at Space Station - Astronauts Fix Potty Problem
Wednesday, Jun 04, 2008 11:40am

I.S.S. From CNN (By: Tom Pace, Talk of the Town)  BREAKING NEWS:  OUTER SPACE 1:45pm 6-4-08  The International Space Station (I.S.S.) now has a fully working toilet, thanks in part to a delivery from the Discovery astronauts.  You might say, "Houston, their potty problem has been fixed."  The space station's toilet broke two weeks ago.  

The problem according to the CNN story, was confined to the urine side of the commode -- that forced the orbiting outpost's crew of an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts to flush manually with extra water several times a day.  

Space shuttle Discovery brought up a new pump for the toilet, as well as the space station's newest room, a $1 billion Japanese lab.

Russian astronaut Oleg Kononenko spent more than two hours installing the new 35-pound pump and hoses, then running three tests of the toilet while he talked with specialists at Russian Mission Control, located just outside of Moscow. 

The toilet worked normally. It transports urine via air flow to the pump, which separates the gas and liquid.

"Let's start using it," Russian Mission Control told Kononenko, one of the two Russians living aboard the space station. "We'll keep our fingers crossed."

Kononenko was asked to give periodic reports on how the toilet was working. 

While Kononenko fixed the toilet, other members of the shuttle and space station crews were busy making power, data, air and water connections on the newly installed lab, named Kibo, which means hope in Japanese. 

Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide installed the 37-foot lab on Tuesday, just as two crewmates were completing a spacewalk.  

He used the space station's robot arm to nudge the bus-sized lab into place.

On Wednesday, Hoshide "will get to turn the module on for the first time. That will be really exciting," said Emily Nelson, a space station flight director.


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