Communication has been restored to the International Space Station after a computer glitch Tuesday morning left crew members unable to reach ground controllers for more than two hours.
Around 8:45 a.m. Central Time, the ISS lost contact with Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas, according to a NASA news release. By 11:34 a.m., systems had been restored.
Early Tuesday, flight controllers were updating station flight computer software when a data relay system malfunctioned. The backup system would not allow the station to communicate with NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites.
The crew in low-Earth orbit was able to communicate with ground controllers as the spacecraft flew over Russian ground stations before 10 a.m. Central Time. Expedition 34 crew members were instructed to connect to another backup computer to begin restoring communications.
Commander and NASA astronaut Kevin Ford reported that the station’s status was fine and the crew was doing well, the release stated.
Hours before the glitch, one of the flight engineers aboard posted a now ironic message via Twitter. Chris Hadfield tweeted, “Good Morning, Earth! Today we transition the Space Station’s main computers to a new software load. Nothing could possibly go wrong.”
Expedition 34 began with the Russian Space Agency Soyuz TMA-05M undocking in October, 2012. Three more crew members arrived via another Russian Soyuz in December.
The crew consists of Commander and NASA astronaut Kevin Ford, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy, Evgeny Tarelkin, and Roman Romanenko.
A cooperative of United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, Canada, and other nations, the International Space Station is an orbiting research laboratory. The first segments were launched in 2000 and after completion the ISS became the largest and longest inhabited object to ever orbit the Earth.
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