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NASA, Russia downplay ISS problems
Posted: Sat, Oct 25, 2003, 1:29 PM ET (1729 GMT)
ISS illustration (NASA) Representatives of both NASA and Rosaviakosmos, including the crew of the International Space Station, played down reports Thursday of problems monitoring the conditions on board the station. The Washington Post had reported Thursday that some NASA officials and expressed concern with plans to launch a new crew to the station earlier this month, citing equipment problems that prevent them from monitoring the environment, such as the presence of potentially-hazardous trace contaminants, on the station. NASA officials, including some of the same people who expressed concerns earlier, went on the defensive, noting that there is no evidence of any problems on the station that could threaten the crew, only that they currently don't have the ability to monitor some aspects of the station's environment. Others noted that if the crew had to evacuate the station, there was a "50-50 chance" that the station could be lost before another crew could be launched to it. Russian officials denied that there are any problems with the station, claiming that "all the ISS systems are functioning normally." In an essay published in the Post on Friday, NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe said that the debate prior to the launch of the Expedition 8 crew was an example that "the culture is changing" at NASA.
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