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Shuttle glitch could shorten mission
Posted: Fri, Dec 14, 2001, 10:17 AM ET (1517 GMT)
STS-108 patch A failure of a navigation unit on board the shuttle Endeavour has brought the mission close to an early end, NASA officials said Thursday. One of three inertial measurement units (IMUs) on Endeavour was declared dead Thursday, one day after it began acting erratically. Flight rules require the shuttle to return to Earth if two of the shuttle’s three IMUs fail, although there is no sign that the other two units are experiencing problems. The shuttle is currently scheduled to undock from the station on Saturday and land on Monday, although current weather forecasts call for unfavorable landing conditions at the Kennedy Space Center that day. The shuttle and station crews are wrapping up work on the station, loading the Raffaello cargo module, which will return to Earth on the shuttle, with unneeded equipment and garbage. The station crews also held an official change-of-command ceremony on Thursday, as Expedition Three commander Frank Culbertson handed the station over to Expedition Four commander Yuri Onufrienko. The event was merely ceremonial, as the de facto changeover took place on Monday when the crews swapped seat liners in the Soyuz capsule docked to the station.
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