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Ike puts Nasa space operations in a spin

As Ike barrelled toward Texas, Houston had to shut down the International Space Station, awaiting the arrival of a cargo ship. NASA officials said the hurricane was to blame.

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Officials Friday delayed the arrival of a cargo ship at the International Space Station, after NASA shut down its space center in Houston as Hurricane Ike barreled down on Texas, the US space agency said.

The Russian cargo spacecraft Progress, launched Thursday from Kazakhstan, is carrying more than two tons of supplies to Russian cosmonauts aboard the orbiting space station (ISS).

But US and Russian officials delayed its docking from Saturday to Wednesday, after the Johnson Space Center in Houston, which controls many of the systems at the ISS, was shut down because of the approaching storm.

Ike has killed more than 100 people in the Caribbean and was gathering strength as it rampaged across the Gulf of Mexico, threatening Galveston Island and Houston in southeastern Texas with a direct hit.

Control of the ISS has been handed to flight controllers at backup facilities further inland in Texas and Alabama until the storm has passed, NASA said.

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