The Russian oxygen generator on
board the International Space Station is down for the count. The
crew will have to depend on backup oxygen supplies until repair
parts can be sent up in June.
The often broken Elektron generator has been a challenge for the
astronauts. Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev attempted to
repair the unit recently to no avail. NASA says a new electronic
box will be shipped up on the Russian supply ship that is scheduled
to arrive in mid-June.
Oxygen supplies on board the station can last for five months.
The crew is currently using oxygen from the Progress cargo carrier
that is docked to the station. This oxygen will last until about
May 22 before the crew will have to start using oxygen generators
similar to those used in some commercial airliners. An additional
100 days supply is in tanks attached to the station US Quest
Total air supply is about 140 days.
NASA Science Officer and Flight Engineer John Phillips and
Commander Krikalev have now been on the Station for one month of
their scheduled six-month stay. They arrived April 14th and are
scheduled to depart on October 7th.