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Dec 17, 2013 5:24 PM by AP

NASA Orders Urgent Spacewalk Repairs at Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- NASA has ordered up a series of urgent spacewalks to fix a broken cooling line at the International Space Station.

Station managers decided Tuesday to send two American astronauts out as soon as possible to replace a pump that contains a bad valve. It's a big job that will require at least two or three spacewalks. The first is scheduled for Saturday.

The spacewalks are taking priority over the launch of a supply ship from Virginia. The delivery had been scheduled for this week, but is now delayed until January.

Half of the station's cooling system shut down last week. The six-man crew had to turn off nonessential equipment, including science experiments. While the astronauts are safe, NASA wants the system back up to full strength, in case of another failure.

In this image provided by NASA the International Space Station is shown with the backdrop of Earth. The image was photographed by an STS-132 crew member on space shuttle Atlantis after the station and shuttle began their post-undocking relative separation on May 23, 2010. The astronauts aboard the International Space Station dimmed the lights, turned off unnecessary equipment and put off science work Thursday Dec. 12, 2013 as NASA scrambled to figure out what's wrong with one of two identical cooling loops that shut down Wednesday. (AP Photo/NASA)

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