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Astronauts dealing with flooded toilet

CAPE CANAVERAL — The bathroom lines at the already crowded space shuttle and space station complex got a lot longer Sunday because of a flooded toilet.

One of two commodes aboard the international space station broke down, right in the middle of complicated robotic work being conducted by the two crews. The pump separator apparently flooded.

Mission Control advised the astronauts to hang an “out of service” sign on the toilet until it could be fixed. In the meantime, the six space station residents had to get in line to use their one good toilet. And Endeavour’s seven astronauts were restricted to the shuttle bathroom.

There have never been so many people — 13 — together in space.

The toilet repair work fell to Belgian Frank De Winne and American Michael Barratt, who had to don goggles, gloves and masks. They ripped apart the compartment, working well into the evening. Mission Control finally instructed them to call it a day and resume the effort this morning.

— Associated Press

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