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    WASHINGTON, JANUARY 7, 2004, /RIA-NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT ARKADY ORLOFF/ -- The International Space Station (ISS) is operating without a hitch; meanwhile an insignificant drop in air pressure doesn't make us alarmed. This was disclosed to RIA-NOVOSTI here today over the phone at the press center of NASA's LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson) mission-control center in Houston.

    No subsequent air-pressure drops were registered over the last 24 hours, a press-center spokesperson stressed.

    Ground control registered a small drop in ISS air pressure January 6. According to Russian space-center experts, this mishap could have been caused by a malfunctioning ISS air-purification system, which removes all carbon dioxide from the orbiter itself. This system is located inside Russia's Zvezda (Star) module; Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri and his US counterpart are to check the afore-said system's performance Friday January 9.

    The ISS crew isn't working today because of Orthodox Christmas celebrations.

    Air pressure is dropping by not more than 0.04 feet per square inch every 24 hours, Houston people say. This doesn't influence the station's operation, presenting no hazards to the crew itself.

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