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Space Agency to Review Space Walk Requirements

March 21, 1990

WASHINGTON (AP) _ NASA, reacting to criticism about the number of astronaut space walks that will be needed to maintain the proposed space station, said Wednesday it will review its requirements and report the results to Congress.

NASA said that on Friday it will review the status of an ongoing study of the space-walk requirements. The announcement made no reference to two articles in the New York Times this week that prompted the review.

On Monday, the Times reported that an internal NASA investigation showed 2,200 hours of space walks would be required each year, 5 1/2 times as long as all U.S. space walks to date. It said the study found the station could not be built as designed because its parts would begin to break down before the station was completed in the late 1990s.

On Wednesday, the newspaper quoted Dr. William Fisher, a co-leader of a NASA investigative panel, as challenging his bosses for saying the findings were ″a worst case scenario.″ Fisher, an astronaut, said his team had been done a disservice by implication its efforts were ″somehow not credible simply because the results are unpopular.″

Fisher said ″our ongoing investigation may well show the problem to be even greater than our preliminary figures would indicate.″

NASA said Richard H. Truly, the agency’s administrator, will conduct Friday’s review. Others taking part, in addition to Fisher, will include Charles Price, the other co-leader; William Lenoir, who heads NASA’s space flight program; Richard Kohrs, director of the space station program, and officials from the Johnson Space Center.

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