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NASA spacewalking suits in short supply, report finds

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A new report finds that NASA’s spacewalking suits are in short supply. The suits were developed more than 40 years ago, and a replacement is still years away. That’s despite nearly $200 million spent on new suit technology for Mars and other future space travel.

NASA’s inspector general office released its findings Wednesday.

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According to the report, NASA is dealing with a variety of design problems and health risks from the suits used by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The suits were intended to be used for 15 years.

Of the original backpacks containing life-support equipment, only 11 of the 18 are still used. The report says that might not be enough to last until the station’s retirement in 2024.

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There have been 3,400 mostly minor problems with spacewalking suits since their development in the 1970s. In more than 200 spacewalks, astronauts have encountered 27 ‘‘significant incidents.’’

Associated Press

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