NASA Sits Tight as Unmanned Space Station Considered

Space Station
The failure of a Russian Soyuz cargo rocket several minutes after launch last month, and Russia's decision to suspend all Soyuz launches while it investigates the cause, has created some problems for International Space Station partners.

NASA officials are discussing the possibility of leaving the station unmanned for the first time in nearly 11 years, as partner countries discuss the readiness to resume Russian Soyuz launches to the station.

Speaking to reporters earlier this week from aboard the space station, NASA astronaut Mike Fossum said the station's six crew members are not yet preparing to leave the orbiting lab unmanned. He said, though, that officials at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas are considering their options.

"The teams in Houston are in the preliminary stages of deciding everything from what ventilation we're going to leave running, what lights we are going to leave on, what condition each particular experiment will be on - every tank, every valve, every hatch," said Fossum.

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