NASA has taken over control of Japan’s portion of the International Space Station and is overseeing the Japanese cargo ship docked at the orbital outpost following the evacuation of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) center in Tsukuba in the wake of Friday’s earthquake.
JAXA’s space station control center is located about 30 miles northeast of central Tokyo. It is believed to have sustained significant damage.
NASA control centers in Houston and Huntsville, Ala., stepped in to oversee Japan’s Kibo space complex, the station’s largest laboratory, after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Friday. Japan also has a robotic cargo ship docked at the station.
NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries tells Discovery News that experiments inside Kibo were shut down before the Tsukuba center was evacuated. Experiments and payloads attached outside the complex have not been impacted.
“Tsukuba area has power outages (and) fuel, food and water shortages,” Humphries wrote in an e-mail. “Should know more tomorrow.”
(Damage at Japan's space station control center in Tsukuba. Credit: collectSPACE.com)