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Equipment Failures

December 7, 2007 | From the Associated Press
NASA called off Thursday's launch of the space shuttle Atlantis after a pair of fuel gauges in its big external tank failed to work properly, a recurring problem since the 2003 Columbia disaster. Shuttle managers said the next launch attempt would be no earlier than Saturday. Preliminary indications were that the problem might be with an open circuit rather than the gauges themselves -- perhaps a spliced line or a bad connector -- which would be easier to fix.
November 19, 2007
An electrical breakdown snarled traffic on the Northeast rail corridor for hours, delaying trains arriving at New York's Penn Station from Philadelphia and Boston. Damage to overhead wires halted a passenger train about 8:30 a.m., initially blocking New Jersey Transit service and stranding passengers on one northbound train for nearly 2 1/2 hours.
October 30, 2007 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
NASA managers have extended the mission of space shuttle Discovery by a day so that the astronauts can take a closer look at a problem discovered over the weekend with the solar arrays powering the International Space Station. The decision to perform what the space agency called "exploratory surgery" was made Monday after spacewalking astronauts from Discovery found what appeared to be metal shavings inside a joint that rotates to allow the solar panels to track the sun.
October 22, 2007 | Mary Beckman, Special to The Times
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration and heart device maker Medtronic told doctors to stop using a particular component -- the wire lead -- of Medtronic's latest generation of implanted heart defibrillators. Cardiologist Dr. William Maisel, a consultant to the FDA, explains what these devices do and what went wrong. What are these implantable heart devices? Implantable heart devices come in two types. The more common device, a pacemaker, is designed for hearts that beat too slowly.
October 11, 2007 | Stuart Silverstein, Times Staff Writer
As many as 10,000 Metrolink commuter rail passengers endured delays of up to about 90 minutes Wednesday night because of a breakdown of a train-switching system at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, officials said. The mechanical problems also delayed four Amtrak trains, carrying about 950 passengers to and from Los Angeles, for more than an hour each. Denise Tyrrell, a spokeswoman for Metrolink, said the switching system breakdown occurred at 4:50 p.m.
September 26, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
Communications equipment failed at a regional air-traffic control center, shutting down all airline traffic within 250 miles of Memphis and causing a ripple effect across the country that grounded dozens of passenger and cargo flights. The problem started when a major telephone line to the Memphis center went out. The Federal Aviation Administration said air-traffic control operations were back to normal about three hours later.
September 8, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
An unmanned Russian rocket carrying a Japanese communications satellite malfunctioned after liftoff Thursday, sending parts crashing in an uninhabited part of Kazakhstan and triggering concerns about environmental damage. Nobody was hurt, but the crash was a potential blow to Russia's program for commercial satellite launches.
August 21, 2007 | From Times wire services
General Motors Corp. minivans are being investigated by U.S. safety regulators because of reports that power sliding doors on 2005 and 2006 models opened while the vans were in motion. The inquiry covers as many as 175,000 Buick Terraza, Chevrolet Uplander, Pontiac Montana SV6 and Saturn Relay minivans, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The agency said it received nine complaints of doors that opened.
August 15, 2007 | Tami Abdollah, Times Staff Writer
U.S. Customs officials said Tuesday that they had traced the source of last weekend's system outage that left 17,000 international passengers stranded in airplanes to a malfunctioning network interface card on a single desktop computer in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. The card, which allows computers to connect to a local area network, experienced a partial failure that started about 12:50 p.m.
August 14, 2007 | Ted Rohrlich and Tami Abdollah, Times Staff Writers
Aviation officials criticized U.S. Customs on Monday for being unprepared and taking too long to fix the weekend computer failure at LAX that left more than 17,000 international passengers stranded for hours in airplanes. Accustomed to frequent, short-lived outages, customs officials said they mistakenly believed their computers would be up and running within an hour Saturday. Then they made another mistake, aviation officials said.
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