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Toilet parts

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Toilet parts

Post by Mr007 on Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:10 am

The astronauts have plenty of supplies on board. Last month's shuttle flight delivered sufficient food stores to maintain an ISS crew for a year. Further re-supply flights are planned by Japan and Europe using their robotic freighters early next year. Ordinarily, these would be preceded by two Progress missions. But if they cannot fly, the situation would still be manageable, said Mr Suffredini.

"We're in a good position logistically to withstand this loss," he told reporters.

"I can tell you we can go several months without re-supply if that becomes necessary."

If Soyuz operations are suspended for a long period, however, it will become necessary at some point - probably in October - to start reducing the size of the crew on the ISS.

There are a number of factors that might prompt the ISS partners to lower the complement. One would be the desire to slow the use of those consumables, such as toilet parts, that are depleted more rapidly and therefore need more regular replenishment. Another would be the safety restrictions that compel homecoming astronauts to use their return capsules by a specified date.

One more would be medical protocols that restrict the time astronauts are allowed to stay on the station to limit their exposure to harmful doses of space radiation.

This is the second Russian rocket failure in a week. On 18 August, a Proton vehicle put a telecommunications satellite in the wrong orbit.

Another Proton failure in December resulted in top Russian space agency officials losing their jobs.

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