The International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Space station works offline

By Charles Black
20 February 2013
(Sen) – The International Space Station (ISS) lost communications temporarily with NASA’s mission control during a software upgrade on February 19.

Normal communications were restored a few hours later and there were no other problems whilst the station was offline to mission control in Houston.

Expedition 34 crew member Chris Hadfield had started his day by announcing to his 400,000+ Twitter followers “Good Morning, Earth! Today we transition the Space Station’s main computers to a new software load. Nothing could possibly go wrong.” However, at 14.45 GMT (9.45 EST) communications between NASA’s mission control and the space station failed during the software upgrade.

Whilst engineers at NASA’s mission control in Houston worked on re-establishing the link, station commander Kevin Ford was able to pick up a signal and send an audio message to NASA whilst the station passed over Russian ground stations. Commander Ford reported that “all systems otherwise look like they are doing just fine”.

A NASA statement explained “Flight controllers were in the process of updating the station’s command and control software and were transitioning from the primary computer to the backup computer to complete the software load when the loss of communication occurred”.

Just under 3 hours later at 5.34 GMT (12.34 EST) communications with ground control in Houston were re-established.

Read more: Space station works offline — Sen.

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