ISS gyroscope breaks down

Two of the International Space Station's four gyroscopes don't work, thus impairing station-orientation accuracy.

This was disclosed to RIA Novosti today by a spokesman for the Russian Mission Control center.

It has been decided to set up a joint US-Russian commission, which will examine different options, including an additional space walk for repairing the gyroscopes, he added.

It became known on Friday that the second out of the International Space Station's four gyroscopes had stopped working April 22. Meanwhile the first gyroscope had broken down more than 12 months ago.

According to the expert, gyroscopes have repeatedly malfunctioned in the past. These devices, which resemble huge fly-wheels, and whose principle of operation resembles that of the ordinary table top, can create some problems, if they develop a malfunction; however, such problems are not something critical, he went on to say.

All gyroscopes are highly unlikely to break down, the Mission Control center's spokesman noted. However, the station's orbital orientation can also be adjusted with the help of its position-control engines, he stressed.

ISS gyroscopes are located on the US Unity module's Z-1 metal girder.

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