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Earthquake disrupts Japanese ISS operations
Posted: Sat, Mar 12, 2011, 9:16 AM ET (1416 GMT)
A massive earthquake that struck Japan on Friday has forced the Japanese space agency to shut down a control center for its International Space Station module. The magnitude 8.9 earthquake has caused some damage to the Tsukuba Space Center in Tsukuba, Japan, home to the a control center for Kibo, the Japanese module on the station. NASA flight controllers are temporarily overseeing Kibo and the HTV cargo spacecraft docked to the station while damage to the Tsukuba facility is assessed. ISS operators in general are not affected by the change, beyond a delaying in opening the hatch of the HTV vehicle from Friday to Monday after the cargo spacecraft was moved from one docking port on the station to another on Thursday. The earthquake and accompanying tsunami, which caused extensive damage in northern Japan, has not apparently caused any major damage to Japan's major spaceport at Tanegashima, in the southern part of the country.
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