MOSCOW: The Russian space agency's plans to repair the crippled space station Mir have been postponed because of commander Vasily Tsibliyev's heart condition. As a replacement, Russian officials may ask NASA to allow American astronaut Michael Foale to take part in the repairs, a move sure to attract fire from Congress, which has become increasingly critical of the joint U.S.-Russian program over the past several weeks. TIME's Andrew Meier reports that the Russian decision to cancel the spacewalk was made to give Tsibliyev a much needed day off after a series of harrowing incidents, and a chance for further medical exams to better assess his condition: "They are trying to do damage control, saying there's no reason to be hysterical over this. They want the U.S. to understand there's no need to abandon ship, because the repairs aren't really an urgent issue. Their feeling is they've had Mir up there for 11 years and that they can go a little longer. But when we listen to the cosmonauts themselves, they're audibly tense, worried and exhausted."