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After 17 years in orbit, how durable is the International Space Station?

After 17 years in orbit, how durable is the International Space Station?

FILE- In this April 20, 2014, image made from a frame grabbed from NASA-TV, the SpaceX Dragon resupply capsule begins the process of being berthed on to the ISS. (AP Photo/NASA-TV, File)
FILE- In this April 20, 2014, image made from a frame grabbed from NASA-TV, the SpaceX Dragon resupply capsule begins the process of being berthed on to the ISS. (AP Photo/NASA-TV, File)

Even though the ammonia leak that forced a partial evacuation of the International Space Station’s U.S. section on Wednesday proved to be a false alarm, the news did raise questions on the station’s durability.

Since the station’s inception in 1998, the habitable satellite has endured a multitude of maintenance issues, from pump failures to damaged panels. “We’ve had other, what have turned out to be more serious, problems on the space station,” NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told FoxNews.com. “For example, there was an actual ammonia pump failure [in 2010], and so it had to be replaced and required space walks. The actions we took [Wednesday] were for a worst-case scenario like that.”

The now 17 year-old International Space Station (ISS) has been occupied for 5,187 days and circled the Earth 92,357 times, so a little wear-and-tear would seem unavoidable.  While the station has been in orbit since 1998, it actually wasn’t completed until recently.

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January 19, 2015


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