NASA Checking Out 'Smoky Smell' in Spacesuit

NASA is investigating a smoky smell in a spacesuit worn during a test on the ground, and officials said Tuesday they won't hold any spacewalks until engineers can pinpoint the source of the odor.

The scent was apparent Friday during a test of a spacesuit assigned for use on a future mission. Early examinations have not found evidence of burning in the test suit.

Mission Control told space station commander Peggy Whitson on Tuesday that they hope to lift the spacewalk ban by Wednesday, the Houston Chronicle reported on its Web site.

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Crew members aboard the international space station are scheduled to hold two important spacewalks next week, and three outings are planned during a December shuttle mission to the orbiting lab.

Whitson and astronaut Daniel Tani are scheduled to participate in spacewalks on Nov. 20 and 24 to prepare the station for the arrival of space shuttle Atlantis and its major cargo, a new European laboratory.

The shuttle Discovery recently delivered a pressurized compartment that will serve as the docking port for the new lab. During the spacewalks, Whitson and Tani plan to plug in the power and data connections linking the module, called Harmony, to the station.