Space station computer outage may force spacewalk

Apr 12, 2014 by Marcia Dunn
This May 23, 2011 photo released by NASA shows the International Space Station at an altitude of approximately 220 miles above the Earth, taken by Expedition 27 crew member Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 following its undocking. A computer outage at the International Space Station may require a spacewalk by astronauts and threatens to delay next week's launch of a commercial supply ship for NASA. NASA said Friday night April 11, 2014 that a backup computer on the outside of the orbiting lab is not responding to commands. (AP Photo/NASA, Paolo Nespoli)

A computer outage at the International Space Station may require a spacewalk by astronauts and threatens to delay next week's launch of a commercial supply ship for NASA.

NASA said Friday night that a backup computer on the outside of the orbiting lab is not responding to commands.

The main computer, called an MDM or multiplexer-demultiplexer, is working fine, and the six-man crew is in no danger, officials said. But these computers control some robotic functions that would be needed for the upcoming supply run by SpaceX, one of two U.S. companies contracted by NASA to keep the well stocked. A backup computer would need to be operating for redundancy of those .

SpaceX is supposed to launch the unmanned Dragon capsule on Monday from Cape Canaveral. It contains nearly 5,000 pounds (2267.99 kilograms)of supplies and science experiments.

The mission is already a month late because of extra prep time needed by the California company and unrelated damage to an Air Force radar-tracking device needed for rocket launches.

Late Friday, Mission Control was trying to determine whether the computer can be repaired or must be replaced. A replacement would have to be accomplished by spacewalking astronauts.

NASA is still aiming for a Monday launch by SpaceX. But that could change, depending on the status of the bad computer.

Astronauts use the space station's big robot arm to grab onto the Dragon capsule and attach it to the outpost.

The space station is currently home to two Americans, one Japanese and three Russians.

NASA is paying Space Exploration Technologies Corp.—or SpaceX—and the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corp. to make space station deliveries. Russia, Japan and Europe also conduct occasional supply runs.

Explore further: Supply ship departs space station after five weeks

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John92
not rated yet Apr 12, 2014
omfg please no more delays for spacex
BSD
1 / 5 (3) Apr 12, 2014
Private enterprise strikes again. Can't be trusted to do anything.
Eikka
4 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2014
Why did they have to put the hardware outside where it's the hardest to get to?
travisr
5 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2014
The conspiracy theorist in me says that the government is creating a series of failures that delay SpaceX's launch long enough to infiltrate the company and sabotage the launch so that the industrial military complex companies are no longer threatened. Mmmm tin foil, come to me!
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (3) Apr 12, 2014
Wow I wonder if the cunts in the American war mongers camp can start a total and all out nuclear WW3 with the Russians, will result in a shoot out in the space station as well?