HOUSTON -- The crew aboard the international space station is getting ready for a new task Wednesday as they play plumber.
The space station's toilet broke two weeks ago. The problem has forced the orbiting outpost's crew of an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts to flush manually with extra water several times a day.
Space shuttle Discovery brought up the space station's newest room, a $1 billion Japanese lab. But it also brought along new pump for the cranky toilet.
The mundane task of installing the 35-pound pump and hoses falls to cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko this morning in a job that's expected to last two hours.
Aggie Astronaut Mike Fossum talked about the toilet problem in his exclusive interview with News 3. Click here for the complete interview from aboard Discovery.
Besides fixing the toilet, the shuttle and space station crews plan to make power, data, air and water connections on the newly installed lab.
Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide installed the 37-foot lab Tuesday just as two crewmates were completing a spacewalk. He used the space station's robot arm to nudge the bus-sized lab into place.