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NATIONAL BRIEFING / FLORIDA

Astronauts fix faulty equipment

November 24, 2008|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Astronauts tinkered with a troublesome piece of equipment designed to help convert urine and sweat into drinkable water, which is vital to allowing the International Space Station crew to double to six.

Station Cmdr. Michael Fincke and space shuttle Endeavour astronaut Donald Pettit changed how a centrifuge is mounted in a urine processor, which is part of the newly delivered $154-million system. The centrifuge helps separate water from urine.

The astronauts have been trying to get the system running for four days, but the processor has worked for just two hours at a time before shutting down. A normal run is about four hours.

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