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SPACE STATION TOO HEAVY UNDER CURRENT DESIGN

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Under current designs, the proposed space station Freedom weighs about 113,000 pounds too much and needs too much power to operate, NASA officials said Friday.

Revealing yet another problem for the beleaguered space agency, space station director Richard Kohrs said current designs call for the space station to weigh nearly 625,000 pounds while specifications call for it to weigh only 512,000 pounds.If the space station weighs too much, it would require too many space shuttle flights to be built.

In addition, current designs call for the station to require more than 56 kilowatts of power for each hour of operation; designs call for it to require only 45 kilowatts of power.

However, Kohrs said analysts had made significant progress in reducing the station's weight and power needs, and he was confident they would reduce the station to specifications by the end of the year.

"It's a lot of work. There will be some tough decisions, but I'm confident we'll get them (weight and power needs) down," Kohrs said.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has come under fire within the past month because of a defect in the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope and fuel leaks that have grounded the space shuttle fleet.

The station's weight can be reduced through measures such as using different, lighter types of metals for certain components, Kohrs said.