NASA, Space Teams Continue Computer Repairs - InformationWeek

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6/15/2007
04:28 PM
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NASA, Space Teams Continue Computer Repairs

Officials are still unclear why the computers went down Wednesday morning, causing voluntary shutdowns of some electronic equipment to preserve power.

Flight controllers were still trying to reboot Russian navigation computers on the International Space Station Friday afternoon.

Mission control staff in Houston spoke with U.S. astronauts during one of several live broadcasts from the International Space Station Friday, as teams prepared for another attempt at rebooting the computers that afternoon.

It was unclear why the computers went down Wednesday morning, causing voluntary shutdowns of some electronic equipment to preserve power. NASA said the computers were restored briefly Thursday.

ISS program manager Mike Suffredini said during a news conference Friday afternoon that Russian and U.S. flight controllers and engineers were focused on recovering computers and how to maintain attitude control until resolving the problems.

The troubled computers provide backup attitude control and orbital altitude adjustments. While crews worked to restore them, the station's control moment gyroscopes handled attitude control. The shuttle's propulsion system provided backup.

Conversations between Russian astronauts and flight controllers as well as those between their American counterparts could be heard during the live broadcast a few hours after Suffredini spoke and nearly three hours into Friday's spacewalk.

"The Russian segment is going to attempt a restart of the computer in about 10 minutes," an employee identifying herself with mission control said during the live broadcast.

Minutes later, Russians could be heard communicating about the status of terminals. Portions of the conversation and decision-making were translated into English. Other portions were lost in the broadcast for reasons that were not immediately clear.

Suffredini was optimistic about the outcome.

"I think we're in good shape," he said. "We still have a lot of options to go through to recover these machines. We've got a talented group of people to look at attitude control."

American Danny Olivas continued repairing a thermal blanket, by stapling and pinning it down, during his spacewalk, which was broadcast live.

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