Nasa's most sophisticated router is down and the space agency is considering sending a service man to fix it.
The TDRS-1 is onboard a sophisticated data relay satellite orbiting the Earth which acts as a router communicating with Space Shuttles, the Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and other satellites.
It can send and receive signals to and from Earth 5,000 times faster than a modem and receive signals from five other spacecraft. It was one of three built in a $825m project by US aerospace giant Boeing.
TDRS-I was launched two weeks ago and, having reached its first orbit successfully, was due to be pushed into a higher trajectory above the Earth's equator.
But one of the satellite's four fuel tanks malfunctioned and it is uncertain whether the satellite can be rescued.
A spokesman for Boeing said that it was considering sending an engineer into space on the next Shuttle where it could either be repaired in situ or returned to Earth.
But experts consider that such a rescue would be too dangerous and complicated.
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