HOUSTON - Ground controllers for the International Space Station said today that, due to a failure of primary, secondary and tertiary control systems, the entire space station was now being controlled by a Mattel "See-N-Say" toy. The two crew members must take turns pulling on a string on the popular child's toy every 30 minutes or so, or the station's orbit begins to decay.
NASA spokesman Rick Furley says everything is under control. "The station was designed for such a contingency. We knew during our testing phase that these computers were likely to shut down on us 15, 20 times a day. We didn't expect that all three would go out for good, but that's the nature of this game...expecting the unexpected."
American crewman Sam Turner said that the first fifty or so pulls on the See-N-Say were clustered mostly around the pig and the dog. "That's good, because the pig corrects starboard yaw, which has been a problem, and the dog helps build up pressure in the aft thrusters." He said he was optimistic, but aware that problems might crop up. "We're hoping we don't hit the cow," he said. "We hit the cow a couple times last night, and the lights started to flicker, the oxygen cut out for a few minutes...it was not good. Yuri gets a little edgy if the lights go out."
Turner points out that things could be worse. "We haven't hit the hippo even once. If we do...." His voice trails off. It is clearly not something he wants to think about.