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NASA is scaling back its plans for the orbiting International Space Station, a result of its goal of retiring the space shuttle and sending Americans back to the moon.
A centrifuge laboratory to study the effects of gravity on animals won't be added, NASA Assistant Associate Administrator Mark Uhran said Monday. Another laboratory and a compartment that would have held life-support equipment are also "at higher risk" of being left on the ground, he said. (Related item: NASA administrator softens comments on shuttle)
A Russian component that would have produced power for Russian science facilities will "probably" not make it to the station either, Uhran said. However, space station labs being built by Europe and Japan are not in jeopardy, nor are the solar panels that will supply those labs with electricity.
The plan to retire the shuttle by the fall of 2010 doomed the centrifuge lab, because only the shuttle has the size and strength to carry the station's massive pieces into orbit. Russia's space vehicles can deliver food and other supplies to the station, but they're too small to carry the station's larger pieces.
NASA wants to retire the shuttle to save money to help pay for the plan to send humans to the moon in 2018.
A centrifuge laboratory to study the effects of gravity on animals won't be added