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ISS spacewalks put on hold
Posted: Thu, Mar 23, 2006, 8:10 AM ET (1310 GMT)
ISS EVA in April 2003 (NASA) Space station managers have put a hold on any future spacewalks at the International Space Station because of concerns about handrails on the orbiting outpost as well as missing Russian hardware. Station managers said that handrails being tested on the ground suffered from "unusual degradation" traced back to a manufacturing flaw. Officials aren't certain that the handrails on the US segment of the station have the same problem because of missing paperwork. Tests should be completed by April to determine if the handrails on the station are safe to use Spacewalks using Russian equipment are also on hold because of missing canisters of lithium hydroxide used in Russian suits to scrub carbon dioxide from the air. If the canisters can't be found on the station, more will be launched, perhaps on a Progress cargo launch scheduled for late April. These problems do not affect any near-term spacewalks, since the next ISS EVA is not scheduled until this summer.
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