Space station computer fails; walk ordered to replace it
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA has ordered spacewalking repairs for a serious computer outage at the International Space Station.
A backup computer for some robotic systems failed on Friday. The main computer is fine and the six-man crew is safe, but the malfunction puts this week's supply run in jeopardy.
Mission managers agreed on Saturday that a spacewalk is needed to replace the bad computer. But officials want one more day before deciding whether the situation is safe enough in orbit to proceed with Monday's SpaceX launch as planned.
NASA promised to decide on Sunday whether to delay the delivery mission.
No date for the spacewalk has been set yet; officials indicated it could occur sometime in the next week or so. The job is among those practiced by the astronauts before flight.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule holds more than 2 tons of station supplies and science experiments at Cape Canaveral. The shipment is already a month late for unrelated reasons.
If the Dragon soars on Monday — launch time is 4:58 p.m. EDT — then it would reach the orbiting lab on Wednesday.
Flight controllers want to make sure enough redundancy exists at the space station before committing to the launch.
The bad computer, called an MDM or multiplexer-demultiplexer, is among more than a dozen on the outside of the space station, used to route commands to various systems.
Officials said the failure has had no impact on the scientific and other work being conducted by the astronauts.
NASA is paying the California-based SpaceX — Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — as well as Orbital Sciences Corp. of Virginia to deliver space station goods. Russia, Europe and Japan also perform occasional shipments. The U.S. space shuttles carried up the bulk of station equipment until their retirement in 2011.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- UCLA inundated by burst pipe
- Girl struck by plane on beach succumbs
- Lone clinic in Miss. for abortions still stands
- Appeals court upholds nation of origin labels for meat
- Chemical plan inspection program ‘broken’
- Highway funding overhaul sought
- Harshest sanctions yet target Russian finances, arms
- Swift action expected of VA’s new secretary
- N.H. kidnapping suspect held on $1M bail
- Boy’s body discovered on Air Force cargo jet that was on mission in Africa
- Obama’s many rules often violate statute