Former Astronaut Talks About Shuttle Atlantis

By: Hailey Frances Email
By: Hailey Frances Email

June 15, 2007

NASA says the U.S. Astronauts at the Space Station are not in danger.

While making repairs, the Russian part of the station lost control of three computers. The computers are a crucial part of keeping the station aligned in orbit.

Kathy Thornton is a professor at the University of Virginia and a former NASA Astronaut.

Thornton talked to us about her time in space and also how she feels about the downed Russian computers causing complications at the Space Station.

The space station needs the crew of the shuttle Atlantis to stay docked until they can fix the problem.

"Something happens that's unexpected on every mission. One one of the flights I was on we were gonna’ grab a satellite and put a new booster motor on it. Turned out to be a lot harder to grab it than we expected. It took three tries instead of one," said Thornton.

"The real issue here is not water it's not the air or any of that, the real issue is orientation control of the space station. They really need to get these computers fixed. That's the key to this so that when the shuttle leaves they can orient the station as required," said CBS News Space Consultant Bill Harwood.

The crew of Atlantis has already extended their stay at the International Space Station from 11 to 13 days because of unexpected repairs.


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