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Latest Space station news and updates

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Space station

Space station becomes polling place

Houston -- Americans can vote from all over the world, but for two registered U.S. voters who happen to work for NASA, it's more like out of this world, the agency says.

Cmdr. Edward Michael Fincke and Flight Engineer and Science Officer Greg Chamitoff cast their votes Tuesday from 220 miles above the Earth in the International Space Station, a NASA release said.

A secure electronic ballot, uplinked from NASA's Johnson Space Center Mission Control Center in Houston, can be accessed by Fincke and Chamitoff, who cast their votes and downlinked the ballot to Houston, after which an e-mail to the Harris and Brazoria County Clerk's office recorded their votes.

ESA: Europe keeps space station operating

Paris -- The European Space Agency says European science and manufacturing is keeping the International Space Station in operation.

"Already now, more than a third of the pressurized station elements are built and designed in Europe and European knowhow is keeping station in operation," Simonetta Di Pippo, the ESA's director of human spaceflight, said.

Additional spare parts from Europe will be aboard space shuttle Atlantis, scheduled to lift off Friday on its final planned mission to the space station.

Endeavour returns to Cape Canaveral

US space shuttle Endeavour that carried six-crew members for a two week assignment to set up a new unit at the International Space Station, returned to Florida Sunday night.

Space station cupola offers panoramic view

Cape Canaveral -- U.S. astronauts aboard the International Space Station say they're putting the finishing touches to a module that offers a 360-degree view of space.

"We will have the most spectacular view of the Earth anyone's ever had from the inside of the station," astronaut Steve Robinson said of the module Tranquility.
The $400 million Tranquility and its Italian-built cupola -- a domed-shaped annex with seven windows -- is the last major U.S. addition to the station, which is now 98 percent complete.

Astronauts set up new deck on space station lab

Cape Canaveral, July 19: Astronauts aboard space shuttle Endeavour today achieved a major breakthrough when they set up a porch, to carry out experiments, on the huge space station.

Space station changes command

Moscow -- Russian authorities Saturday said cosmonaut Gennady Padalka was to take control of the International Space Station from NASA astronaut Michael Fincke.

Padalka, who trained Fincke on a 2004 mission to the station, praised his former "pupil" with leaving the space station in excellent shape for the station's Expedition 19, ITAR-Tass reported.

Fincke and Russian Yuri Lonchakov have been in orbit on the station since last October. They return to Earth April 8 with space tourist Charles Simonyi, who arrived aboard the space station last week with Padalka.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International.

Space station is briefly evacuated

Houston -- The U.S. space agency says the International Space Station was briefly evacuated Thursday when space debris was detected heading toward it.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration controllers in Houston ordered the ISS crew to enter a safety capsule until the debris had passed.

"The crew was notified of the all clear at 12:45 p.m. EDT," NASA said in a brief statement, noting the crew then left the Soyuz safety capsule and returned the station to normal operations. Had the debris struck the ISS, the orbiting station might have become depressurized and the crew could have undocked, NASA said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International.