| CAPE CANAVERAL
CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. May 21 A pair of astronauts
will venture outside the International Space Station as early as
Tuesday for an emergency space walk to replace a failed
computer, one of two that control major U.S. systems aboard the
orbiting outpost, NASA said on Sunday.
The primary device failed on Saturday, leaving the $100
billion orbiting laboratory to depend on a backup system to
route commands to its solar power system, radiators, cooling
loops and other equipment.
The station’s current five-member crew from the United
States, Russia and France were never in any danger, the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration said in a statement.
NASA expects to make a decision later on Sunday about which
astronauts aboard the station will make the two-hour space walk
and when the assignment will take place.
Peggy Whitson, the station commander, assembled and tested a
spare electronics box to replace the failed device, which had
been installed during a space walk on March 30, said NASA
spokesman Dan Huot.
NASA’s last emergency space walk took place in December 2015
when two U.S. astronauts left the station to release the brakes
on a robot arm’s mobile transporter.
The ISS, which is staffed by rotating crews of astronauts
and cosmonauts, serves as a research laboratory for biology,
life science, materials science and physics experiments, as well
as astronomical observations and Earth remote sensing.
The station, owned and operated by 15 nations, flies about
250 miles (400 km) above Earth and orbits the planet about every
90 minutes. It has been continuously staffed by rotating crews
of astronauts and cosmonauts since 2000.
(Editing by Frank McGurty and Jeffrey Benkoe)