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NASA Memo Confirms Spacewalk Thruster Incident // MSNBC.com // Cosmic Log // Alan Boyle

Feb. 10, 2005 | 9:35 p.m. ET -- Spacewalk on the wild side: After a round of denials from Moscow [www.mosnews.com/news/2005/02/01/spacedanger.shtml, /www.kommersant.com/page.asp?id=543762, //en.rian.ru/rian/index.cfm?prd_id=160&msg_id=5365075&startrow=1&date=2005-02-01&do_alert=0,] , a U.S.-Russian investigation has confirmed that at least one of the international space station's astronauts roamed into a "keep-out zone" (or KOZ, in NASA-speak) during a spacewalk last month. In a worst-case scenario, the spacewalkers' Russian-made Orlan-M suits could have become contaminated with toxic fuel from the station's thrusters.

The internal NASA memo confirms James Oberg's report for MSNBC.com [www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6890895/] that the mistake raised concerns at the U.S. space agency, even though the Russians said "nyet problema" at the time:

"Safety procedures are being modified on both sides to ensure future prevention of KOZ violation during spacewalks," according to today's status memo, obtained by MSNBC.com. "No traces of contamination on the Orlan-M suits were found after the EVA-12 incident."


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