Image: Oxygen generator
The Elektron oxygen generator aboard the international space station is seen in this photo from April 2002, with NASA astronaut Daniel Bursch floating alongside.
updated 11/1/2006 11:41:04 AM ET 2006-11-01T16:41:04

The international space station's crew has fixed an oxygen generator that overheated and spilled a toxic irritant last month, Mission Control said Wednesday.

The station's crew — cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, U.S. astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and German astronaut Thomas Reiter — have fixed the Elektron oxygen-generator using spare parts delivered last week by the Russian cargo ship Progress, said Mission Control spokesman Valery Lyndin.

"The crew has replaced several parts of Elektron and put it back to work," Lyndin said. "Elektron has been working smoothly since Tuesday."

The Russian-made Elektron overheated, leaking potassium hydroxide on Sept. 18. While the incident forced the crew to don masks and gloves in the first emergency ever declared aboard the eight-year-old orbiting outpost, Russian and U.S. space officials downplayed it, saying crew members' lives were never in any danger.

Lyndin said that the station had plenty of oxygen canisters, which the crew were using before the Elektron was fixed Tuesday. He said space officials also plan to put a U.S. oxygen-generator in service next year.

Image: Labeled diagram of Elektron
This diagram labels the components in the international space station's Elektron oxygen generator.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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